New Book from Susan Dunn Examines Pivotal 1940 Presidential Election

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 30, 2013—Susan Dunn, the Preston Parish ’41 Third Century Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Williams College, has published a book with Yale University Press titled “1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler—the Election amid the Storm.”

Set against the explosive backdrop of the Nazi onslaught in Europe, it focuses on the pivotal election of 1940. Two far-sighted candidates were competing for the White House: Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, running for an unprecedented third term, and Republican businessman Wendell Willkie. Both internationalists, they found themselves on the defensive against American isolationists and their charismatic spokesman Charles Lindbergh, who called for a surrender to Hitler’s demands. The book brings to life an exciting cast of characters, including American ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy; FDR speechwriter Robert Sherwood; and General George Marshall.

“I very much enjoyed researching Wendell Willkie,” Dunn says. “I was quite surprised that he and FDR forged a vital working relationship after the November election. They were almost a team.” Dunn says she also learned that Lindbergh’s wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wrote a best-selling book in 1940 called “The Wave of the Future,” in which she predicted a new dynamic and dazzling age of fascism in the United States.

Among Dunn’s many other books are “Roosevelt’s Purge,” which won the Henry Adams Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History; “The Three Roosevelts,” co-written with James MacGregor Burns; “Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light;” and “Dominion of Memories: Jefferson, Madison, and the Decline of Virginia.”


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