Those Angry Days

Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941

A groundbreaking account of the debate over American intervention in World War II, Those Angry Days tells the story of the bitter, sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation and ultimately determined the fate of the free world. At the center stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who championed the interventionist cause, and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who, as unofficial leader and spokesman for America’s isolationists, emerged as the president’s most formidable adversary.

Spanning the years 1939 to 1941, Those Angry Days vividly re-creates the rancorous internal squabbles that gripped the United States in the period leading up to Pearl Harbor. While other historians have limited their focus to the policy issues of the pre-Pearl Harbor period, Lynne Olson tells the human stories as well—especially that of Charles Lindbergh, his troubled wife Anne, and their family. She masterfully evokes the nail-biting suspense over whether Britain would be saved, as well as the extreme polarization in the country (not unlike that of today) that ripped apart friendships and tore apart families.

The stakes in this battle could not have been higher. The combatants were larger than life. With the immediacy and verve of a great novel, Those Angry Days recalls a time fraught with danger when the future of democracy and America’s role in the world hung in the balance.


“Powerfully recreates this tenebrous era…Olson captures in spellbinding detail the key figures in the battle between the Roosevelt administration ration and the isolationist movement.”
—New York Times Book Review (front page)

“Popular history at its most riveting…In Those Angry Days, journalist-turned-historian Lynne Olson captures the period in a fast-moving, highly readable narrative punctuated by high drama.”
—Associated Press

“[Olson] doesn’t so much revisit a historical period as inhabit it; her scenes flicker as urgently as a newsreel.”
The Christian Science Monitor

“A vivid, colorful evocation of a charged era.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A must for history fans.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Lynne Olson has done it again. Those Angry Days is a riveting account of the political tensions and cast of historic figures engaged in an epic battle over the role of the United States in the early years of World War II. . . Modern leaders and citizens alike can learn so much from Those Angry Days.”
—Tom Brokaw, former NBC News anchor and author of The Greatest Generation