When the Lions Roar is a massive book. But for good reason—it covers a massive subject! Thomas Maier’s new book follows the deeply intertwined lives of two families: the Kennedys and the Churchills, honing in primarily on the patriarchs, Joseph Kennedy Sr., and Winston Churchill.
As Maier guides the reader through several decades of the early-mid 20th century, many will be surprised by the keen attention to detail in When the Lions Roar. I learned quite a lot about both families that before was all but a mystery to me: the struggles of Joseph Jr. and his wife, Rose, with the mental issues of daughter Rosemary; or the confusing, damaged relationship that Winston had with his son, Randolph. Both families fought fervently to make a name for themselves in history, often at the expense of family ties, sleepless nights, and sometimes their morals—all of which Maier masterfully captures in this novel-like tome.
Practically speaking, When the Lions Roar is very helpfully formatted with the reader in mind. I was delighted to note a “Cast of Characters” page in the beginning of the book, along with an immensely useful section in the back, featuring “Notes”, a “Selected Bibliography”, and an “Index”. Any reader who has spent time digging through historical bibliographies knows the constant mental strain in attempting to juggle names, places, and dates in his head while keeping the timeline straight. When the Lions Roar helps alleviate some of the headache!
Overall, I was pleased to find such an accessible book that covers so expansive a subject. Readers will be delighted with the intrigue and suspense of Maier’s excellent work, and will sit on the edge of their seats as the saga of the Kennedys and Churchills reaches it’s dramatic, yet hopeful climax.
Note: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher; I was not required to write a positive review.