Book Talk: The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and Wa
“ Katz’s work is invaluable for bringing to life a historical moment in ways that are almost novelistic.”
About the Book
The untold story of the three intelligent and glamorous young women who accompanied their famous fathers to the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and of the conference’s fateful reverberations in the waning days of World War II.
Tensions during the Yalta Conference in February 1945 threatened to tear apart the wartime alliance among Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin just as victory was close at hand. Catherine Grace Katz uncovers the dramatic story of the three young women who were chosen by their fathers to travel with them to Yalta, each bound by fierce family loyalty, political savvy, and intertwined romances that powerfully colored these crucial days.
Kathleen Harriman was a champion skier, war correspondent, and daughter of U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Averell Harriman. Sarah Churchill, an actress-turned-RAF officer, was devoted to her brilliant father, who depended on her astute political mind. Roosevelt’s only daughter, Anna, chosen instead of her mother Eleanor to accompany the president to Yalta, arrived there as keeper of her father’s most damaging secrets.
Situated in the political maelstrom that marked the transition to a post- war world, The Daughters of Yalta is a remarkable story of fathers and daughters whose relationships were tested and strengthened by the history they witnessed and the future they crafted together.
Reviews & What Readers Say
“ A singular take on the history of the Yalta Conference, viewed through the eyes of the three notable daughters who supported their famous fathers, the ‘Big Three,’ and contributed in heretofore undocumented ways . . . A substantive debut work of first-rate scholarship . . . Katz effectively shows how these three often overlooked women proved to be indispensable in a variety of ways. Engaging, multilayered history of the best kind, grounded in telling detail and marvelous personalities.”
“ In 1945 an American president, his ambassador to the Soviet Union, and a British prime minister chose to make the trip to Yalta with their daughters in tow. Over the next weeks those ‘second mates’ served as their fathers’ eyes and ears, their tasters, confidantes, and chiefs of staff. They gate-kept and play-acted, eradicated bedbugs, held their vodka, and offered up toasts, as Stalin cunningly put it, ‘to the broad sunlight of victorious peace.’ In a rich, captivating narrative, Catherine Grace Katz gives us a wholly original Yalta, one seen from a different gender and generation."
―Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra and The Witches
“ [In] Catherine Grace Katz’s detailed behind-the-scenes account . . . she skillfully marshals diaries, letters, oral histories and memoirs to support her thesis that the pressures of wartime had warped normal familial bonds, so that the Western leaders’ relationships with their daughters had become more like those between business partners than between parent and child. Loyalty and discretion were prized above all . . . Light on political drama, this entertaining history is nevertheless packed with vivid personalities, jockeying aides and insider observations about a pivotal moment in history."
―New York Times Book Review
" Skillfully written and meticulously researched, it’s an extraordinary work that reveals the human side underlying the politics . . . The Daughters of Yalta is a thoroughly engrossing book, as acute about the contentious politics of the day as it is about the remarkable daughters who participated."
―Wall Street Journal
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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CATHERINE GRACE KATZ is a writer and historian from Chicago. She holds degrees in history from Harvard and Cambridge and is currently pursuing her JD at Harvard Law School