The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Format: Trade Paperback, 912 pages
ISBN: 978-0-307-27794-7 (0-307-27794-1)
Pub Date: September 8, 2009
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A brilliant evocation of the qualities that made FDR one of the most beloved and greatest of American presidents.
Drawing on archival material, public speeches, correspondence and accounts by those closest to Roosevelt early in his career and during his presidency, H. W. Brands shows how Roosevelt transformed American government during the Depression with his New Deal legislation, and carefully managed the country's prelude to war. Brands shows how Roosevelt's friendship and regard for Winston Churchill helped to forge one of the greatest alliances in history, as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin maneuvered to defeat Germany and prepare for post-war Europe.
A Washington Post Notable Book
“Wonderful. . . . Rich in insights and fresh perspectives. . . . Brands is something of a rare breed. . . . This volume shows the precision and attention to detail that one would expect from a scholar and, at the same time, reads like a novel. . . . It may well be the best general biography of Franklin Roosevelt we will see for many years to come.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Excellent. . . . If you want to understand how a great president should act, Traitor to His Class is must reading.”
—The New York Observer
“[Roosevelt] was an extraordinarily complicated man and the author copes skilfully with his complexity. . . . Mr. Brands is masterly.”
“A graceful account of this complex, controversial, political genius who, everyone agrees, changed the course of history. Well-researched and exquisitely detailed.”
“Fresh, approachable, even-handed.”
“H. W. Brands has accomplished a remarkable feat in this terrific work. As if he were creating characters in a novel, he has brought to vivid life the central figures in his story—FDR, Eleanor, Sara Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the inner circle in the White House—while at the same time providing a fresh understanding of the rich historical context for their thoughts and actions at every step along the way.”
—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Team of Rivals
“An easy-to-read portrait of a towering figure in American history.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Brilliantly executed. . . . Lean, with no fatty padding or sermonizing. Brands is resolutely evenhanded in his treatment of FDR, and he makes no attempt to persuade his readers of FDR’s virtues or lack thereof.”
—Dallas Morning News
—The Washington Post Book World
“H. W. Brands is a master at finding the essence of an important American life, telling its story grippingly and showing us why it is important to our own generation. With Traitor to His Class, he has surpassed even his own high standard. This judicious and compelling work is the first major one-volume biography written by an historian too young to have lived in Franklin Roosevelt’s time. It deserves a wide audience, especially among those younger Americans who need to be told why we all owe so much to FDR.”
—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage and The Conquerors
“We live in the world Franklin Roosevelt created, and we can never know enough about him. In this illuminating portrait of the man who proved far more radical than his upbringing would have ever suggested, H. W. Brands has painted FDR in bright and brilliant colors.”
—Jon Meacham, author of Franklin and Winston and American Lion
“May be Brands’s most ambitious project yet. . . . [It] testifies to his talent as synthesizer and storyteller. . . . [If] you haven’t read much about FDR’s life, this is a good place to start. If you have, this is a good place to get reacquainted.”
“This is a rare book, indeed, shedding new light and brilliant insight upon an elusive subject we thought we knew well. In this elegant, all-encompassing portrayal, master historian H. W. Brands shows us a leader who got the big issues right and, in doing so, forever changed the expectations of the world. Traitor to His Class will quickly emerge as the finest one-volume biography of FDR.”
—David Oshinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Polio: An American Story
“A vivid and readable portrait of a man who was an enigma to many. . . . What Brands has done, through exhaustive research and a natural storyteller’s flair, is to humanize a man and his circle . . . who led the country at one of its most critical crossroads.”
—San Antonio Express-News
“This book is must reading for a new generation of educated Americans, especially the enlightened generation that just recently has discovered the fascination of American politics. It is told not with the blind loyalty of their grandfathers’ generation nor with the biases of their fathers’ generation. It is, at last, a look at the 20th century’s greatest U. S. president without all the smoke and dust and noise that so often has shrouded the view of the Roosevelt era.”
H. W. BRANDS is the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. The author of Andrew Jackson, Lone Star Nation, and The Age of Gold, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for biography for The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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