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Organizing Victory: The War Conferences, 1941-1945, by Andrew Rawson

Stroud, Eng.: The History Press / Chicago: Trafalgar Square, 2013. Pp. 368. Illus., notes, index. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 0752489259.

The Allied ‘Summits’ that Shaped the War

Rawson, author of Eyes Only: The Top Secret Correspondence Between Eisenhower and Marshall, gives us the first comprehensive survey of the Alliws summit conferences of World War II.  His presentation uses a uniform format. 

For each conference Rawson us a short introduction.  This sets the stage and gives some details about decision to hold the conference, the choice of location (even Khartoum came under consideration!), the movements of the principals, the agenda, and more, at times even including unusual logistical considerations.  Rawson then he gives us a day-by-day summary – almost like minutes – of the meetings, including associated combined chiefs-of-staff conferences and supplementary working meetings of junior staff. 

The actual coverage varies depending upon the length of the summit and the complexity of the issues discussed; the Washington conference of June 19-25, 1942, merits only three pages, while the Potsdam summit of July 16-August 2, 1942, requires nearly 60.  The book does have some flaws, it would have been useful to have included the Roosevelt-Churchill meeting in August of 1941 at Argentia Bay, and it is badly in need of maps.  Nevertheless, this is the best overview of the summits and an excellent resource for anyone interested in the development of Allied strategy.

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Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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