Tuesday, December 9, 2014 | 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Between the fall of 1937 and Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Franklin Roosevelt used all his wiles to persuade a reluctant American nation to abandon its nascent isolationism and join with Britain to defeat Nazism and the Japanese tyranny. He achieved this despite a marked reluctance to spend any more taxpayers' money when the results of the publicly funded New Deal's attempt to defeat the Great Depression were still proving elusive. As John Maynard Keynes had predicted, only massive spending on arms and war materiel would be enough to end the Depression for good -- while saving the world from a totalitarian creed that vowed to encompass the whole world.
Author and journalist Nicholas Wapshott is the International Editor of Newsweek, where he presides over the magazine's foreign and US political coverage, and is a Reuters columnist, writing across a range of political, foreign and economic subjects. His most recent book, The Sphinx: Franklin Roosevelt, the Isolationists and the Road to World War II, will be published by W W Norton in November. In telling the story of how FDR gradually persuaded a reluctant nation to join the British in defeating Nazism and fascism, he raises the question of whether America is currently witnessing a rise in neo-isolationism stemming from war weariness and a desire among some to severely cut the defense budget.
Wapshott's previous books include the best selling Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics, which became the standard text to describe the division between right and left in macroeconomic thought, and Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage, the first biography to make extensive use of the two leaders' state archives. He wrote the first serious and impartial biography of Margaret Thatcher in 1983. He is also the biographer of the film-maker Carol Reed and actors Peter O'Toole and Rex Harrison.
Wapshott was the editor of The Times, London, Saturday edition before arriving in the US in 2001 to become the paper's US correspondent. Since making his permanent home here he has worked for the Sunday Telegraph, the New York Sun, helped found the Daily Beast and run the editorial side of Oprah Winfrey's website, Oprah.com. He lives in New York City.