The Second Most Powerful Man in the World

The Second Most Powerful Man in the World[EPUB] ✺ The Second Most Powerful Man in the World ✿ Phillips Payson O'Brien – The life of Franklin Roosevelt's most trusted and powerful advisor Admiral William D Leahy Chief of Staff to the Commander in ChiefFascinating greatly enriches our understanding of Washington wartime Most Powerful eBook ☆ The life of Franklin Roosevelt's most trusted and powerful advisor Admiral William D Leahy Chief of Staff to the Commander in ChiefFascinating greatly enriches our understanding of Washington wartime power Madeleine AlbrightAside Second Most Powerful Man in PDF/EPUB or from FDR no American did to shape World War II than Admiral William D Leahy not Douglas MacArthur not Dwight Eisenhower and not even the legendary George Marshall No man including Harry Hopkins was closer to Roosevelt nor had earned his blind faith like Leahy Through the course of the war constantly at the president's side and advising him on daily decisions Leahy became The Second PDF or The Second Most Powerful Man in the WorldIn a time of titanic personalities Leahy regularly downplayed his influence preferring the substance of power to the style A stern faced salty sailor his US Navy career had begun as a cadet aboard a sailing ship Four decades later Admiral Leahy was a trusted friend and advisor to the president and his ambassador to Vichy France until the attack on Pearl Harbor Needing one person who could help him grapple with the enormous strategic conseuences of the war both at home and abroad Roosevelt made Leahy the first presidential Second Most Powerful Epub Û chief of staff though Leahy's role embodied far power than the position of todayLeahy's profound power was recognized by figures like Stalin and Churchill yet historians have largely overlooked his role In this important biography historian Phillips Payson O'Brien illuminates the admiral's influence on the most crucial and transformative decisions of WWII and the early Cold War From the invasions of North Africa Sicily and France to the allocation of resources to fight Japan O'Brien contends that America's war largely unfolded according to Leahy's vision Among the author's surprising revelations is that while FDR's health failed Leahy Second Most Powerful Man in PDF/EPUB or became almost a de facto president making decisions while FDR was too ill to work and that much of his influence carried over to Truman's White House.

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The Second Most Powerful Man in the World PDF ´ The
  • Hardcover
  • 544 pages
  • The Second Most Powerful Man in the World
  • Phillips Payson O'Brien
  • 10 July 2014
  • 9780399584800

10 thoughts on “The Second Most Powerful Man in the World

  1. says:

    Admiral William D Leahy 1875 1959 was a friend of Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1882 1945 They met in 1913 when FDR was Assistant Secretary of the Navy They remained friends over the years and in 1937 Leahy became Chief of Naval Operations During World War II FDR appointed Leahy as his Chief of StaffThe book is well written and researched This book was published in May of 2019 I noted that O’Brien disagrees with the majority of historians over who was America’s most influential military man Most historians list General George C Marshall 1880 1959; whereas O’Brien lists Admiral Leahy He uses this book to state his reasons His main reason was Leahy’s daily influence of FDR Which is not the criteria most historian used When Truman became president in 1945 he retained Leahy Leahy found he did not have as much influence over Truman as he did a sick FDR Truman listened to Leahy and his other advisors and made up his own mind Leahy retired in 1949 I found this to be an interesting biography of FDR’s closest advisor This is a hagiographic biography I think this will be a controversial biography because of the treatment by the author of the other key leaders such as Generals Marshall and Eisenhower According to O’Brien Leahy ran the entire war himself The position FDR created for Leahy was divided into two positions that of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff military and that of National Security Advisor This biography would make a good resource for teachers in teaching the risk of giving one man in our democracy too much power We were very lucky that Admiral Leahy was a man of extremely high standards and ethicsPhillips Payson O’Brien is a professor of Strategic Studies at the University of St Andrews in Fife Scotland He was a Cambridge University Mellon Research Fellow in American History I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is nineteen hours and fifty eight minutes Christopher Grove does a good job narrating the book Grove is an award winning actor and audiobook narrator

  2. says:

    When I decided several months ago to borrow this book THE SECOND MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD from my neighborhood library its subject William D Leahy was someone I regarded as a peripheral figure in history I had had some prior awareness of Leahy But I had assumed that he a naval officer had been Franklin Roosevelt's physician during the Second World War And so I didn't give him a second thoughtBut once I began reading this biography I began to see that Leahy was a remarkable man on so many levels who selflessly devoted his life in service to the United States Born in 1875 in Wisconsin a second generation Irish American Leahy went on to attend the Naval Academy at a time when the US Navy was in the midst of transitioning from the Age of Sail to a modern navy run on coal which in turn would give way in the 20th century to warships powered by gasoline derived from petroleum graduating in 1897 Leahy would later see action during the Spanish American War and over the next 52 years would rise through the Navy having commanded various warships in home waters and overseas and engaged in a variety of administrative and diplomatic roles Indeed as a young naval officer Leahy in 1913 made the acuaintance of Franklin Roosevelt who was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the Wilson Administration The two men were to form a deep special bond over the years And though their paths would diverge during the 1920s the men kept in touch So that when Roosevelt was elected President in 1932 Leahy would become a confidante and adviser to FDR who furthered Leahy's naval career Before the decade was out Leahy would serve as the Chief of Naval Operations the highest rung in the Navy's hierarchy I was also impressed that Leahy unlike many of his contemporaries in the post World War I era who were wedded to the battleship as key to naval doctrine and tactics grew to appreciate the potential that aircraft represented as they became increasingly sophisticated capable of travelling great distances and showing their worth as offensive weapons at sea Leahy would also serve in 2 key political posts first as Governor of Puerto Rico 1939 40 in which capacity he oversaw the development of several military bases assumed the stance of not interfering in local politics and made an effort to understand and respect Puerto Rican culture; and later as the US Ambassador to Vichy France from 1941 to May 1942 But Leahy's greatest role which was to be the capstone to his naval career was as the nation's first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Second World War There was hardly any aspect of wartime grand strategy in which Leahy did not leave his stamp This is where the book title of THE SECOND MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD is most apt In this role Leahy's relationship with FDR deepened further becoming it seemed to me almost symbiotic Leahy deeply admired and respected FDR and never sought power for himself He worked incredibly hard and put in long hours as a matter of routine And then upon FDR's death in April 1945 Leahy would stay on to serve in the Truman Administration developing a close relationship with President Truman He helped to shape what would become the Truman Doctrine along with the National Security Council and the CIA which he felt should not engage in clandestine activities but restrict itself to gathering intelligence for the government; unfortunately after Leahy retired the CIA due to the influence of Allen Dulles who led it during the Eisenhower years would later have as its remit clandestine activities and other nefarious doings in the early Cold War years retiring in January 1949 What I also appreciated from reading this biography was learning about Leahy the man how he thought and felt about the various famous and not so famous personages he dealt with as well as his attitudes on people and the various travels he embarked upon throughout his long life Leahy kept a rather extensive diary through most of his life And now that I've read this delightful book I would urge anyone who wants to learn about a signficant historical figure deserving of wider recognition pick up THE SECOND MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD It's one of the best biographies I've ever read

  3. says:

    Forgotten to history Phillips Payson O'Brien makes a relentless case that Admiral William Leahy was the behind the scenes power in WWII instrumental in assisting Franklin Roosevelt as he led America through the war It is clear that O'Brien has a great deal of admiration for his subject While not ignoring any personality flaws or prejudices that Leahy had they definitely were not emphasized And there is surprisingly little about what Leahy's contemporaries thought of him But if one is wondering just what O'Brien thinks of Leahy look no further than the title of this book To consider him to be powerful than either Stalin or Churchill seems uestionable O'Brien moves at a brisk pace through Leahy's early life and career – and continues that pace well into his middle age Only once he has to retire from the Navy upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 64 does the narrative slow down Leahy then turns his focus to Leahy's relationship with FDR No doubt FDR who first worked with Leahy during the Woodrow Wilson Administration trusted and liked Leahy As WWII deepened and FDR's health declined Leahy assumed and power O'Brien even refers to him as an acting president for most of 1944 when FDR became ill and began sleeping and But for me O'Brien goes way too far with his premise of Leahy being the closest person to FDR and amassing the most power It is like O'Brien is out to correct the prevailing narrative that George Marshall Ernest King and Harry Hopkins had eual influence with FDR Did they? Who really knows other than those men? O'Brien freuently refers to the number of meetings that FDR and Leahy had both alone and with others and contrasts that with the number of meetings the others had with FDR during the same time period – repeatedly trying to assert that Leahy met with FDR way often and thus was far influential It is possible that this is true FDR did give Leahy a lot of authority and latitude But FDR was shifty and from anything that I have ever read about him he was not fully comfortable with anyone Plus he seemed to enjoy watching his advisers Cabinet officers and military chiefs play against each other – often with him creating the situations that would pit one against the other O'Brien especially seems obsessed with proving that Leahy had influence than Marshall He consistently denigrates Marshall's authority and ideas each time comparing him unfavorably with those of Leahy He does this with King as well and to a much lesser extent Hap Arnold Marshall is the main comparison though At one point he says that Leahy “swatted” Marshall away as if he were a fly On page 281 he even makes a chart with the columns “DateIssue” “Leahy Position” “Marshall Position” and “Roosevelt Choice” Of course each row showed FDR siding with Leahy's position I have a difficult time believing that the influence of these two men was that lopsided Or have most of the things written about Marshall been incorrect? Was he really second fiddle to Leahy? A man that was not as great as people were led to believe? I have no particular admiration for nor antipathy toward Marshall I do know that he was a major player in WWII and for the next half dozen years following the war's conclusion Perhaps Marshall was lionized too much? I really do not know But I suspect not at least not nearly to the extent that O'Brien wants us to believe and not each and every time at Leahy's expense O'Brien does not leave this alone either; on the very last page of the book he is still writing how misleading it is that Marshall overshadows Leahy even today At times this seemed as much an anti Marshall book as it was a biography of Leahy After FDR's death Leahy retains his role and most of his influence in Harry Truman's first few years as President Yet once again O'Brien attempts to paint Leahy as the one with all of the knowledge and experience calling Truman a “bush league politician” page 331 while he was a Senator Really? I hardly think so Slowly Leahy lost influence the longer Truman remained in office However he was still influential and Truman went to him for advice on a regular basis It is just that Leahy was no longer the main adviser like he had been at times to FDRWhile I did not care for this book as you can probably tell from the above I do appreciate that O'Brien decided to shine a light on a forgotten historical figure I do think that Leahy was influential his proximity to power clearly proves that He attended all of the major wartime “Big Three” conferences as well as several others between FDR and Churchill If his opinion didn't matter he wouldn't have been there And there has been so much written about many of the major players from that era that a book about someone who did matter but – at least partially thanks to his own personal style of remaining in the background – is no longer remembered except perhaps by historians is welcome However I would have preferred it to have been less about tearing down George Marshall and inflating William Leahy and about showcasing Leahy's considerable abilities as well as examining what his contemporaries thought of him Grade D

  4. says:

    This at first seemed a tough book to review But O’Brien’s own hack job later on made it easier I was first leaning four star but finally settled on three and had it not been for the middle section of the book I’m not sure I’d even give it thatFair chunks of it were solid four to four and one half star uality I am assuming all of Leahy’s childhood his early military service everything else is correct His 1930s “battleships first but don’t neglect naval air” attitude seems to be well summarized Everything within World War 2 up to 1944 seems correct He is right about Marshall being wrong about an early Overlord He is right that Leahy helped guide the Chiefs of Staff toward Torch and rightly so He is right about who had power and who did not within Roosevelt’s Cabinet and sub CabinetAfter that the book is a mix of two three and four star material most of it two and three star levelFirst while FDR grew distant from Harry Hopkins there were other elements to what happened than Leahy cutting him out or Hopkins being too “pink” for FDR or anything else He ignores that Hop had faced GOP attacks claiming he was using his position for personal enrichment in 1943 Also starting with the beginning of 1944 his health went seriously downhill and never fully recovered for the rest of his life so he couldn’t serve FDR Third other people like Ickes when they could help cut Hop out of the loopAnd the fact that FDR had originally intended Hopkins to help him write a speech about Yalta but Hopkins wanted to and did stay in Morocco to rest rather than return on the uincy with FDR should make it clear that up until the last week’s of FDR’s life when Hopkins’ health allowed he was still indeed part of the inner circle took me just 15 minutes of Googling to find that At this point O’Brien’s treatment of Leahy “versus” Hopkins looks uninformed at best and mendacious at worseSecond though he has James Frank’s “Downfall” in his bibliography O’Brien appears to have ignored entirely its actually cogent findings and along with that ignored how Leahy was wrong on his stance O’Brien also uotes not a word about Leahy’s opinion on the firebombings of Tokyo or Dresden too even though near the end of the book he claims Leahy would have considered these to also be weapons of mass destructionNext the “Marshall Plan” While Stalin may have agreed to uphold his 1945 agreement with Truman on Greece such was not the case on Turkey even if he wasn’t planning on invading in 1948 In late 1945 Molotov at Stalin’s orders of course tried to force Turkey to surrender Turkish Armenia territory to it It also tried to get a UN mandate over formerly Italian LibyaMarshall and China? The issue is complex than O’Brien paints Many people including “old China hands” at State cautioned Chiang to settle for the rest of China and let Mao have Manchuria There’s indications Stalin would have signed off on this I’ve reviewed other books about post WWII and pre Revolution China China 1945 by Richard Bernstein is pretty good O’Brian is as with Hopkins either uninformed or mendacious Update As I now start reading through James Bradley's China Mirage I'm leaning and toward mendacious Don't be surprised if at some point soon I take this review down another starO’Brien does correctly interpret that Anglo American hard lines on “Bizonia” contributed to Stalin’s blockade of West Berlin so one small kudo thereKirkus notes that this is an “opinionated” life of Leahy It is indeed No biography is neutral But this one falls apart precisely at the point in history where Leahy becomes the central player in the White HouseAnd with that three stars

  5. says:

    An interesting book on the life and impactful military and political career of Admiral William Lahey Lahey had an extraordinary naval career holding a multitude of operational and administrative jobs in the Navy including all of the top Navy jobs During his naval career he became friendly with then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt This relationship with Roosevelt would be rekindled when FDR became President with Lahey serving Roosevelt in many roles The author repeatedly points to Lahey’s many key roles as the world headed to war and he is not wrong about Admiral Lahey’s many achievements as well as his central role in all military matters in the Roosevelt Administration Admiral Lahey served as Chief of Naval Operations as FDR’s Governor of Puerto Rico and as the US Ambassador to Vichy France where his efforts to keep the Vichy government on a diplomatic path that would limit Nazi Germany’s influence largely failed Lahey was eventually recalled to Washington where he served as military Chief of Staff to the President a job described as the precursor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff He essentially “directed the traffic” so to speak for FDR on all military matters Lahey in fact was the first naval officer to achieve five star status and the most senior of all American five stars regardless of branch Lahey was also designated as the senior American to the joint British American military chiefs after US entry into the war against Germany Lahey’s central role in WWII cannot be in doubt After the death of FDR President Truman kept him on and while his influence was never uite the same Lahey was at the center of all major military decisions including the use of nuclear weapons on Japan which he strongly opposed In his central role Lahey was at most of the major allied conferences during WWII and he was with Roosevelt at Yalta As a biography of Lahey I rate the book as excellent I do uestion the author’s insistence on denigrating the contributions of other major American military figures in WWII and attempting to build Lahey up at others expense The author is very hard on George Marshall criticizing him throughout the book and minimizing his influence on FDR Marshall without uestion knew how to gather positive media as did Douglas MacArthur but the author was over the top in this effort He attempted to make Harry Hopkins and Lahey rivals for influence with FDR but this effort to minimize Hopkins just did not ring true to me The author seems upset by the lack of historical footprint for Admiral Lahey and he may have a point but the constant ripping down of Marshall and others took something away from this effort for me The description of Lahey’s position on China was to me especially convoluted and did not make sense I saw another reviewer with the same thought who recommended “China 1945” by Richard Bernstein and I concur Lahey appears to be isolationist post war and from my vantage point appears largely incorrect in his policy recommendations to Truman on how to deal with the challenge from Stalin This book covers some of the most momentous times in US history and brings a figure largely forgotten by history back to life Admiral William Lahey led a very dedicated life of service and I agree that his major contributions to the US war effort have been overlooked This time in our history had so many gigantic personalities egos and talents that it is not a mystery that a behind the scenes operator like Lahey might be lost in the shuffle but he deserves better I just wish the author had not made that rehabilitation a zero sum game

  6. says:

    I'm so glad this is over This book seemed to drag on and on and on and onThe main title of the book is The second most powerful man in the world what a laugh In a time of Roosevelt The author's #1 Stalin Churchill Hitler though evil he was very powerful Mussolini Petain and Tojo the author does not rise to his own proclamation And those are only the political persons He does not explain how Leahy was the 2nd most powerful man in the world in the slightest If anything he establishes how Leahy influenced Roosevelt's decisions and helped with some policy but there is little to no evidence that he swayed the war in Europe or had major influence in the battle in the PacificWhat was his role in Midway? Guadalcanal? The development of the island hopping campaign? He's woefully absent where as King and Nimitz took most of the tactical operation and lead the charge I don't discount Leahy's role but to say that he was the second most powerful man in the world yet didn't have over arching power of the Pacific campaign even as a Naval person reeks of an overblown perspectiveWhile chief of staff is an important role the author continues to overstate Leahy's contribution He was simply Roosevelt's right hand man and helped to give confidence There is little espoused by the author to say the Leahy drove policy decisions and helped shape the course of military operations Heck there wasn't even a major naval leader 4 running the largest amphibious landing of the war it was an army guy and there is no evidence that Leahy had any influence of the operation itself None was presented in the book Most of the book details are good and detailed which I like but many of his conclusions are wrong China for instance Leahy's influence wasn't greater than Marshall's or Ike's While he was present during a lot of the conferences little is presented that he was than present during them Overall it's not a bad book and I'm glad I experienced it but knowing what I know now I'm glad I listened to it instead of reading it

  7. says:

    Overall a thorough yet dragged out read While a minor point the author erroneously claims that during the navy buildup plans of the late 30's early 40's that only three of the four Iowa class battleships were completed; Iowa Wisconsin and Missouri Having just visited the New Jersey this week that seems a glaring error Also the author mentions the debate between Leahy and FDR in regards to the preferred gun sizes on the new build battleships and once 16inch was decided on only the Iowas are mentioned Hmm North Carolina Washington South Dakota Indiana Massachusetts and Alabama were left out Again a small part of the overall narrative but if these facts are confused the remainder of the book's accuracy is now in doubt in my mind

  8. says:

    I was excited to read this book but wound up disappointed by the author’s biased views He seemed to find it necessary to denigrate the abilities of those around Admiral Leshy to cast him in a stronger light In some ways he seemed to be indicating that FDR was Leary’s puppet in foreign affairs That was disuieting particularly in view of how few people knew anything about him and his position at the time and even later It’s probably fortunate that he didn’t misuse his power than he did

  9. says:

    This was uite a head spinning experience after finishing last week Nigel Hamilton's War and Peace They could not have been two different takes on who ran World War II In this book by O'Brien he makes clear that every decision that worked out well for the US seemed to come from William Leahy's brain He also has nothing good to say about General George Marshall It was an interesting read I'm just not sure about the conclusions

  10. says:

    I have enjoyed other books that covered Leahy in large part but I did not enjoy this book The author's point is to show how Leahy was the greatest advisor to FDR how he was always able to win every argument and how all good ideas pretty much started with him The book was written to prove a point and just beat it to death The author may be right but I found this too much I have much preferred he others books that put the great admiral in context

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