On Monday I talked with Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove about his new book Rendezvous with Destiny: How Franklin D Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America Into the War and Into the World.

Every time I read a book about World War II I feel both lucky and slightly diminished. Lucky that I did not have to live through that period of vast suffering, but diminished in the sense that our times seem blander and less heroic by comparison. It's hard to imagine future historians finding personalities from our time that match leaders like Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, and military figures such as Zhukov, Montgomery, Eisenhower, Yamamoto, Patton, Rommel, and MacArthur.

And now we can add five more names to that list, five presidential envoys who helped Roosevelt carve out America's path into World War II and into global leadership.

(My thanks to Marty Harris for his excellent video editing work.)