By Ellsworth Barnard
A biography of the life of lawyer and Republican nominee for the 1940 presidential election, Wendell Willkie. A look behind the facts and let the reader interpret them as he or she wishes, for the facts themselves are elusive enough. When we try to get behind the great events that were visible to all the world—Willkie’s nomination at Philadelphia, his defeat in the election, his world tour, his crushing loss in the Wisconsin primary. It's a world of shadows, where the facts are not the things that happened but people’s statements about what happened. Willkie’s own memory, it should be said, was far from infallible in recalling the events of his early life…He was the man who, during the last four years of his life, in a decisive period of American history, had a greater influence on the minds of the American people and the policy of the American government than any other person except Franklin Roosevelt. And he exercised his influence despite the fact that he held no office and spoke for no organization—except, briefly, the Republican Party. He exercised it by sheer ability and force of character.
(Source: Introduction, pages 1-4 of Wendell Willkie: Fighter for Freedom.)