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Tuesday, December 1, 2015
When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys by Thomas Maier is an examination of the relationship between two dynastic families of the twentieth century: the Churchills and the Kennedys. When two families as powerful as these two have as many connections and relationships as the Churchills and Kennedys did, it is bound to not just provide interesting fodder for gossip columns, but to be historically significant as well.

The relationship between the Churchills and the Kennedys spanned three generations, two continents, and one world war. While the families briefly met socially in the late 1930s, their relationship really started when Joseph P. Kennedy was appointed the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James. When Lions Roar gives some background information on the patriarch of each family, but the majority of the book centers on the official roles that brought these two families together, and how those roles and relationships affected the relationship of the U.S. and Britain. It chronicles both the public and private ups and downs of the relationships mainly among Joe Kennedy Sr., Winston Churchill, Randolph Churchill, and John F. Kennedy, though other family members and their interactions are also mentioned.

When Lions Roar is a fascinating read. It is very well written and though it is full of detail and quotes from both spoken and written texts, the pace never gets bogged down. Maier focuses on two main relationships throughout this book. The main focus of course is on the relationship between the two families. However, there is a secondary focus on the relationship within each family, particularly that of father and son. How the two fathers interacted with their children was quite different. Towards the end of the book, Maier briefly explores how these different types of interactions produced very different kinds of sons.

Anyone interested in either family will find When Lions Roar a satisfying read. So will those interested in the relationship between the U.S. and Britain, especially leading up to and during WWII.

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255