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FDR and the Jewsby Richard Breitman
Synopses & Reviews
Nearly seventy-five years after World War II, a contentious debate lingers over whether Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned his back on the Jews of Hitler's Europe. Defenders claim that FDR saved millions of potential victims by defeating Nazi Germany. Others revile him as morally indifferent and indict him for keeping America's gates closed to Jewish refugees and failing to bomb Auschwitz's gas chambers.
In an extensive examination of this impassioned debate, Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman find that the president was neither savior nor bystander. In FDR and the Jews, they draw upon many new primary sources to offer an intriguing portrait of a consummate politician-compassionate but also pragmatic-struggling with opposing priorities under perilous conditions. For most of his presidency Roosevelt indeed did little to aid the imperiled Jews of Europe. He put domestic policy priorities ahead of helping Jews and deferred to others' fears of an anti-Semitic backlash. Yet he also acted decisively at times to rescue Jews, often withstanding contrary pressures from his advisers and the American public. Even Jewish citizens who petitioned the president could not agree on how best to aid their co-religionists abroad.
Though his actions may seem inadequate in retrospect, the authors bring to light a concerned leader whose efforts on behalf of Jews were far greater than those of any other world figure. His moral position was tempered by the political realities of depression and war, a conflict all too familiar to American politicians in the twenty-first century.
A contentious debate lingers over whether Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned his back on the Jews of Hitler's Europe. FDR and the Jews reveals a concerned leader whose efforts on behalf of Jews were far greater than those of any other world figure but whose moral leadership was tempered by the political realities of depression and war.
For most of three decades, Drew Pearson was the most well-known journalist in the United States. In his daily newspaper columnandmdash;the most widely syndicated in the nationandmdash;and on radio and television broadcasts, he chronicled the political and public policy news of the nation. At the same time, he worked his way into the inner circles of policy makers in the White House and Congress, lobbying for issues he believed would promote better government and world peace.
Pearson, however, still found time to record his thoughts and observations in his personal diary. Published here for the first time, Washington Merry-Go-Round presents Pearsonandrsquo;s private impressions of life inside the Beltway from 1960 to 1969, revealing how he held the confidence of presidentsandmdash;especially Lyndon B. Johnsonandmdash;congressional leaders, media moguls, political insiders, and dozens of otherwise unknown sources of information. His direct interactions with the DC glitterati, including Bobby Kennedy and Douglas MacArthur, are featured throughout his diary, drawing the reader into the compelling political intrigues of 1960s Washington and providing the mysterious backstory on the famous and the notorious of the era.
Finalist, 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History Category)
About the Author
Richard Breitman is Distinguished Professor in the Department of History at American University.Allan J. Lichtman is Distinguished Professor in the Department of History at American University.
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