Tuesday, April 15, 2014

David Kaiser's "No End Save Victory"

David Kaiser has taught history at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, the Naval War College, and Williams College. His books include The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Here Kaiser dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest book, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War:
No End Save Victory is influenced by the generational approach to American history pioneered in the 1990s by William Strauss and Neil Howe. As I explain at some length in the text, most of the leadership of Roosevelt's administration--including the President himself--belonged to the Missionary generation, born approximately 1863-1883--the generation born in the wake of the Civil War, just as Boomers were born in the wake of the Second World War. They generally had a tall, stern bearing, a way with words, and a dedication to principles around which they ordered both their own lives and the life of the nation. Strauss and Howe's generational types show up very clearly in movies, and indeed, for many years I taught a course called Generations in Film exploring the last eight decades. Most of the actors I cast also came from the Missionary generation and would have done a wonderful job playing these characters. Lionel Barrymore also had the necessary mixture of gravitas and humor to play FDR himself.

Casting for No End Save Victory:

Franklin D. Roosevelt —  Lionel Barrymore

Secretary of War Henry M. Stimson —  Walter Huston

Admiral Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations —  Spencer Tracy

General George C. Marshall —  Samuel S. Hinds*

Secretary of State Cordell Hull —  Lewis Stone

Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox —  Guy Kibbee

Harry Hopkins —  Paul Muni

Missy LeHand —  Jean Arthur

Sumner Welles —  William Powell

Ambassador Lord Halifax —  Ronald Coleman

Eleanor Roosevelt —  May Robson

William Hastie —  Paul Robeson

Winston Churchill —  Charles Laughton

Ambassador Admiral Nomura —  Sessue Hayakawa

Sidney Hillman —  Edward G. Robinson

*George Bailey's father. He looks quite a bit like him.
Visit David Kaiser's blog, and read more about No End Save Victory at the Basic Books website.

--Marshal Zeringue