Hand: Presidential history is brought to life
By Luci Hand Reasons to Read December 28, 2013 8:22AM
Updated: January 30, 2014 6:25AM
I was asked not long ago which historical people I would most like to have dinner with, to question and get to know. I have a very difficult time selecting just a few.
One on my list is Winston Churchill, who is featured in “Franklin and Winston” by Douglas Wood. This is subtitled “A Christmas that Changed the World.”
Again, I learn, too. I did not know (or do not remember) that Churchill came to Washington for the Christmas holiday in December of 1941 to meet with Franklin Roosevelt.
Pearl Harbor had just horrified the United States and Britain had already been pummeled by two years of war. It was a dangerous journey by sea through U-boat waters.
He had to fly to Washington from the Chesapeake Bay and was thrilled by all the lights. Britain was in black-out.
Together, these two giants worked together and developed the alliance which went on to win World War II.
I love all the incidents and quotes that the author includes in this wonderful tale of two great men. They worked for several days and found that they had the same schedule of working late at night and sleeping in.
Churchill was a rather demanding guest in what he wanted, and two baths a day was one of his requests.
Roosevelt barged in on Churchill while Churchill was in the bath. He laughed and said, “The Prime Minister of Great Britain has nothing to conceal from the President of the United States.”
This is a delightful look at two great men of history.
One of my favorite authors, Patricia Polacco, brings us an intriguing look at another President and another war.
In “Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln,” we meet Derek and Michael, whose grandmother is taking them on a train trip to Washington, D.C. No electronics.
The first stop is Harper’s Ferry. There they meet Mr. Portufoy, who has a museum of Civil War memorabilia. The boys get to dress up in authentic uniforms and then Mr. Portufoy sends them through a door into the Battle of Antietam “game.”
The boys go through a magic door and find themselves in the actual town and battle scene. They go into a store and there is the photographer and President Lincoln.
They are drafted into helping the photographer and gradually come to realize that this is not a game.
We watch as the boys re-meet President Lincoln, who is reminded of his own boys. When he says that he wonders if it is all worth it, they assure him that he is doing the right thing and that the North will win.
He doesn’t believe the boys until they show him Derek’s lucky penny, dated 2007, with Lincoln’s picture on it.
The boys are late getting back to the magic door, but they get in and reunite with their grandmother.
She does not believe the adventure was real until they show her the picture they had taken with the President. It’s hanging on the wall in the museum
Ms. Polacco often leaves you wondering what is true and what is not. You have to make up your own mind.