Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Irregulars

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Irregulars

Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington

by Jennet Conant

The Irregulars by Jennet Conant X
The Irregulars by Jennet Conant
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 416 pages
    Sep 2009, 416 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Britain & The USA in World War II
Very often a parent gives life to a rebellious child and the two of them engage in a lifelong love-hate relationship - until, for health or other reasons, that parent needs help. At that point the prodigal child often returns to step in at the parent's hour of need; though not always without a little coaxing. Such was the case with Britain and the United States at the outset of World War II.

America had a large population of Anglophobes and isolationists due a rocky history between the two nations that began with the Boston Tea Party. However, when Europe, including Britain, was faced with almost certain annihilation at the hands of Hitler's troops, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill turned to the biggest kid on the block for support. And although American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wasn't a confirmed isolationist, he was not altogether keen on involving his country in another all out world war either (World War I having ended barely 20 years before). So Churchill pulled out all the stops, adding his own personal touch to the behind-the-scenes work of Stephenson's gang at the British Security Coordination.

Even though he had been singularly unimpressed with Roosevelt when the pair met some 20 years earlier, Churchill was more than willing to put all differences aside when it became clear to him that Britain's – indeed all of Europe's – future was at stake. Britain desperately needed American military intervention. So he buried his pride. From almost pleading with Roosevelt to enter the war in the beginning to allowing the US President to tease him in public, Churchill showed that personal sacrifice is not too much to ask of a statesman if it will benefit his country.

To their credit the pair never allowed pettiness to supersede their shared political goals, sometimes drawing on common personal ground – both had children in military service, both enjoyed good food and the cocktail hour – to strengthen an at-times fragile but internationally vital friendship.

Related Link: From materials such as personal correspondence and interviews with surviving former staff and family members, John Meacham's Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship paints a personal picture of the complicated relationship between these two powerful statesmen during the watershed years of The Great War.

Article by Donna Chavez

This article was originally published in September 2008, and has been updated for the September 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...
  • Book Jacket: Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Tara Westover had the kind of upbringing most of us can only imagine. She was the youngest of seven ...
  • Book Jacket: The Girls in the Picture
    The Girls in the Picture
    by Melanie Benjamin
    Melanie Benjamin's fine historical novel about the relationship between two women in the early ...
  • Book Jacket: The Driest Season
    The Driest Season
    by Meghan Kenny
    On a summer afternoon in 1943, an almost sixteen-year-old Cielle Jacobson walks into the family barn...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The House of Broken Angels
    by Luis Alberto Urrea

    The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story from an acclaimed storyteller.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Y L D W D, Y'll G U W Fleas

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.