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Lynne Olson

Churchill Fellow, award-winning writer and journalist, and author of Citizens of London and Those Angry Days

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  • About Lynne Olson

    Lynne Olson’s books about Britain and America before and during World War II have earned international praise and awards. In her writing, she has focused on Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as on ordinary Americans and Britons, to show how these two countries joined together to defeat Hitler and win the war.

    Olson is the author of the national bestseller Citizens of London, which was named one of the year’s top 10 Notable Nonfiction Books by the American Library Association. Her other books include Troublesome Young Men and Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939–1941, an instant New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. She has been a guest on numerous television and radio programs, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. She is a consultant to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

    Olson’s new book, Last Hope Island, is a groundbreaking account of how Britain became an island of refuge for Europeans escaping the blitzkrieg rolling over continental Europe. Olson describes an extraordinary cast of characters, from monarchs and politicians to unknown heroes and heroines working deep behind enemy lines.

    An engaging speaker, Lynne Olson has lectured at many private and government organizations, universities and colleges, and libraries, and has spoken at Westminster College’s Winston Churchill Memorial and Library, the Anderson-Ashby Lectureship on Public Policy Journalism at Florida State University, the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, and international Churchill conferences, among other venues.

  • Speaking Topics

    20th Century Leaders and Their Lessons for Today

    Lynne Olson reflects on the impact of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt on today’s world.

    The Varying Arts of Leadership: Roosevelt and Churchill

    Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are widely regarded as two of the most effective political leaders in modern history. In this lecture, Lynne Olson examines their leadership skills, pointing out their differences in style and their influence on the world.

    The "Special Relationship": How America and Britain Worked Together to Win World War II

    In her work, Lynne Olson has always been drawn to Britain in the early days of World War II. A story she herself has called “irresistible”, as a small island stands up to Nazi Germany. In this lecture, she recalls Britain’s efforts to get the United States to enter the war as its ally, emphasizing the success of personal diplomacy and negotiation over confrontational politics.

    Brexit and World War II

    In this lecture, Lynne Olson shows how during World War II Britain served as the seedbed for postwar European unification and explores why the British have now turned their backs on their wartime allies and EU partners.

    Categories: History Speakers
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  • Praise for Lynne Olson

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    Lynne Olson was one of the nicest speakers I have worked with, and she was so gracious with her time with visiting our exhibit, spending time with donors at dinner, and signing books. Everyone loved the lecture, and it was a great event!

    Oregon Historical Society

    Praise for Last Hope Island

    [Olson] argues an arresting new thesis: that the people of occupied Europe and the expatriate leaders did far more for their own liberation than historians and the public alike recognize... the scale of the organization she describes is breathtaking.... Olson’s histories have well honored Britain’s heroism. In Last Hope Island, she justifies her toast to the exiles and their compatriots.

    The New York Times Book Review

    A rip-roaring saga of hairbreadth escape, espionage, and resistance during World War II, Lynne Olson’s Last Hope Island salvages the forgotten stories of a collection of heroic souls from seven countries overrun by Hitler who find refuge in Churchill’s London...

    Erik Larson, New York Times-bestselling author of Dead Wake

    Lynne Olson is a master storyteller, and she brings her great gifts to this riveting narrative of the resistance to Hitler’s war machine. You will be thrilled and moved—and enraged, saddened, and shocked—by the courage and steadfastness, human waste and stupidity, carelessness and nobility, of an epic struggle. Last Hope Island is a smashing good tale.

    Evan Thomas, New York Times–bestselling author of Being Nixon

    A powerful and surprising account of how figures from Nazi-occupied Europe found Great Britain an essential shield and sword in the struggle against Hitler. This is a wonderful work of history, told in Olson’s trademark style.

    Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion

    Praise for Those Angry Days

    Filled with fascinating anecdotes and surprising twists . . . With this stirring book, Lynne Olson confirms her status as our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.

    Madeleine K. Albright

    Powerfully [re-creates] this tenebrous era . . . Olson captures in spellbinding detail the key figures in the battle between the Roosevelt administration and the isolationist movement.

    The New York Times Book Review

    Lynne Olson has done it again. Those Angry Days is a riveting account of the political tensions and cast of historic figures engaged in an epic battle over the role of the United States in the early years of World War II. It's all here: FDR, Lindbergh, Churchill, Hitler, war in Europe and the Pacific. The stakes could not have been higher and the outcome was never certain. Modern leaders and citizens alike can learn so much from Those Angry Days.

    Tom Brokaw

    [An] absorbing chronicle…She (Olson) doesn’t so much revisit a historical period as inhabit it; her scenes flicker as urgently as a newsreel. While highlighting Lindbergh and FDR as its stars, Those Angry Days embraces a cast of characters far beyond the book’s title characters.

    Christian Science Monitor

    In Those Angry Days, journalist-turned-historian Lynne Olson captures that period in a fast-moving, highly readable narrative punctuated by high drama. It’s…popular history at its most riveting, detailing what the author rightfully characterizes as ‘a brutal, no-holds-barred battle for the soul of the nation.’ It is sure to captivate readers seeking a deeper understanding of how public opinion gradually shifted as America moved from bystander to combatant in the war to preserve democracy.

    Associated Press
  • Books by Lynne Olson

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