The Daughters of Yalta is the book on the Yalta conference you didn’t know you wanted to read. The story is interesting, offering an unexpected perspective on the Yalta conference between President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Stalin. The daughters in question are Anna Roosevelt, Sarah Churchill and Katherine Harriman (daughter of Averell Harriman, US ambassador to the Soviet Union), all three of whom accompanied their fathers to the Yalta conference in February 1945. While each of them had their own reasons for going on this wild trip, in the end all they were looking for was the love and appreciation of their fathers.
While they might not have been at the conference table, the support they offered before and after the conference door closed each and every day was vital to the three most powerful men in the world. The topic is so niche and the official responsibilities of the three women in question so small, the book probably only deals about 30% of the time with Sarah, Katherine and Sarah at Yalta. This is not a bad thing because it leaves room to discuss the women’s pasts, as well as a plethora of other occurrences at Yalta which are often overlooked in more academic discussions. While the complex issues discussed at Yalta can often be quite boring and long, the author added just enough information about what happened behind closed doors to make things interesting to both the seasoned and novice reader about the Yalta conference.
The author does a great job describing events, people and places and the story moves along at a good pace because it reads like a historical novel. That certainly doesn’t mean the book isn’t factual because the bibliography and endnotes are elaborate. While there were a few times while it felt like the book was veering off topic and the descriptions were too drawn out, the information was so interesting it didn’t really matter.
Thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review