In his final offering on a Trilogy capturing key presidential moments in the 20th Century, Brett Baier finished strong. “Three Days on the Brink: FDR’s Gamble to Win World War II” is a gripping, detailed and thoroughly enjoyable read that delivers intriguing portraits of Stalin, Churchill and FDR. Baier’s expertise as a hard news journalist shines as he frames the “Big Story” and all the sub-stories that unfold in this strategic slice of World War II. The Audible version is read by Baier himself, which makes it a real treat (I am a big fan.)

Reading this book gave me an introduction to the three main characters:

Stalin comes across as a smart, charismatic, punchy personality who could connive his way in any situation. Short in physical stature but strong and burley in his persona, he comes across as entitled, not willing to budge much at all, forcing the others to accommodate him.

FDR comes across as a people person, a bigger than life politician who knew how to maneuver in the moment and win the hearts of people. Ever the optimist, FDR was one of America’s most admired presidents. Yet just before his death, he ended up letting Stain get the best of him in Yalta. It was a sad ending for an otherwise great president. Stalin got everything he wanted, and the United States had to live with the dire consequences for the next half-century. Furthermore, FDR did not treat Churchill well as he endeavored to win the favor of Stalin. The British Prime minister is shoved aside again and again by FDR in order to make a good impression on Stalin, who FDR was intent in winning over.

Winston Churchill comes across as a frustrated do-gooder who, ever standing for principle and the “little guy,” but was more often than not dismissed by the other two. This was a new image of Churchill I had never seen before. Hailed by most historians as the most prolific leader 3 Days at the Brinkof the 20th century, he comes across as a little boy trying to please his elder brother, FDR.

D-Day is covering well in the book. I am a lover of history, and it was a real treat to read this book written by another lover of history, Bret Baier. It was hard to put down–and the images it painted in my imagination live on.