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FDR

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Review-A-Day

"For Smith, Roosevelt remains a beacon of presidential leadership, a man who led his country during the darkest of days and found a way to restore hope in a time when there was none to be found. Telling FDR's familiar story with aplomb may not be a new deal, but it is a worthy one." Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One of today's premier biographers has written a modern, comprehensive, indeed ultimate book on the epic life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this superlative volume, Jean Edward Smith combines contemporary scholarship and a broad range of primary source material to provide an engrossing narrative of one of America's greatest presidents.

This is a portrait painted in broad strokes and fine details. We see how Roosevelt's restless energy, fierce intellect, personal magnetism, and ability to project effortless grace permitted him to master countless challenges throughout his life. Smith recounts FDR's battles with polio and physical disability, and how these experiences helped forge the resolve that FDR used to surmount the economic turmoil of the Great Depression and the wartime threat of totalitarianism. Here also is FDR's private life depicted with unprecedented candor and nuance, with close attention paid to the four women who molded his personality and helped to inform his worldview: His mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, formidable yet ever supportive and tender; his wife, Eleanor, whose counsel and affection were instrumental to FDR's public and individual achievements; Lucy Mercer, the great romantic love of FDR's life; and Missy LeHand, FDR's longtime secretary, companion, and confidante, whose adoration of her boss was practically limitless.

Smith also tackles head-on and in-depth the numerous failures and miscues of Roosevelt's public career, including his disastrous attempt to reconstruct the Judiciary; the shameful internment of Japanese-Americans; and Roosevelt's occasionally self-defeating Executive overreach. Additionally, Smith offers a sensitive and balanced assessment of Roosevelt's response to the Holocaust, noting its breakthroughs and shortcomings.

Summing up Roosevelt's legacy, Jean Smith declares that FDR, more than any other individual, changed the relationship between the American people and their government. It was Roosevelt who revolutionized the art of campaigning and used the burgeoning mass media to garner public support and allay fears. But more important, Smith gives us the clearest picture yet of how this quintessential Knickerbocker aristocrat, a man who never had to depend on a paycheck, became the common man’s president. The result is a powerful account that adds fresh perspectives and draws profound conclusions about a man whose story is widely known but far less well understood. Written for the general reader and scholars alike, FDR is a stunning biography in every way worthy of its subject.

Review:

"Independent biographer Smith (1996's John Marshall: Definer of a Nation and 2001's Grant) crafts a magisterial biography of our most important modern president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Scores of books have been written about Roosevelt, exploring every nook and cranny of his experience, so Smith breaks no 'news' and offers no previously undisclosed revelations concerning the man from Hyde Park. But the author's eloquent synthesis of FDR's complex and compelling life is remarkably executed and a joy to read. Drawing on the papers of the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library as well as Columbia University's oral history collection and other repositories, Smith minutely explores the arc of FDR's intertwined political and private lives. With regard to the political, the biographer seamlessly traces Roosevelt's evolution from gawky, aristocratic, political newcomer nibbling at the edges of the rough-and-tumble Dutchess County, N.Y., Democratic machine to the consummate though physically crippled political insider — a man without pretensions who acquired and performed the jobs of New York governor and then United States president with shrewd, and always joyous, efficiency. As is appropriate, more than half of Smith's narrative deals with FDR as president: the four terms (from 1933 until his death in 1945) during which he waged war, in turn, on the Depression and the Axis powers. As for the private Roosevelt, Smith reveals him as a devoted son; an unhappy husband who eventually settled into an uneasy peace and working partnership with his wife and cousin Eleanor; an emotionally absent father; and a man who for years devotedly loved two women other than his wife — Lucy Mercer Rutherford and Missy LeHand, the latter his secretary. This erudite but graceful volume illuminates FDR's life for scholars, history buffs and casual readers alike. Photos not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In January 1943, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met at Casablanca to discuss Allied strategy in the European theater. By then, as Jean Edward Smith writes, 'Hitler's defeat in Africa was a matter of time' and the tide was turning against him in Europe, but a long, costly struggle lay ahead. Smith continues: 'When the conference ended, Churchill went to the airport to see Roosevelt... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"An outstanding biography....Altogether, an exemplary and highly readable work that ably explains why FDR merits continued honor." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This page-turner is the best single-volume biography available of America's 32nd president, complementing the recent work of Doris Kearns Goodwin (No Ordinary Time) and Conrad Black (Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom). Essential." Library Journal

Review:

"With its ensuing narrative on FDR's comeback in 1932, launch of the New Deal, and decisions about war and peace, Smith's portrait will ground readers in FDR's controversies and historical stature." Booklist

Review:

"Smith's richly researched — nearly 200 pages of notes and bibliography — look at the president is one of those monumental works that at the same time does not lose sight of the individual at its heart." Denver Post

Synopsis:

From Pulitzer finalist Smith comes another lucid, well-written, tightly organized biography. The Roosevelt that emerges from this book is a man of enormous complexity.

About the Author

Jean Edward Smith is the author of twelve books, including the highly acclaimed biographies Grant (a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist and a New York Times Notable Book), John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (a New York Times Notable Book), and Lucius D. Clay: An American Life (a New York Times Notable Book). A graduate of Princeton University and Columbia University, Smith taught at the University of Toronto thirty-five years before joining the faculty at Marshall University, where he is the John Marshall Professor of Political Science.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400061211
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Author:
Smith, Jean Edward
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Presidents & Heads of State
Publication Date:
20070515
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 16-PP PHOTO INSERTS
Pages:
880
Dimensions:
9.44x6.40x2.06 in. 2.99 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Roosevelt, Franklin D.
History and Social Science » US History » US Presidency

FDR
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 880 pages Random House - English 9781400061211 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Independent biographer Smith (1996's John Marshall: Definer of a Nation and 2001's Grant) crafts a magisterial biography of our most important modern president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Scores of books have been written about Roosevelt, exploring every nook and cranny of his experience, so Smith breaks no 'news' and offers no previously undisclosed revelations concerning the man from Hyde Park. But the author's eloquent synthesis of FDR's complex and compelling life is remarkably executed and a joy to read. Drawing on the papers of the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library as well as Columbia University's oral history collection and other repositories, Smith minutely explores the arc of FDR's intertwined political and private lives. With regard to the political, the biographer seamlessly traces Roosevelt's evolution from gawky, aristocratic, political newcomer nibbling at the edges of the rough-and-tumble Dutchess County, N.Y., Democratic machine to the consummate though physically crippled political insider — a man without pretensions who acquired and performed the jobs of New York governor and then United States president with shrewd, and always joyous, efficiency. As is appropriate, more than half of Smith's narrative deals with FDR as president: the four terms (from 1933 until his death in 1945) during which he waged war, in turn, on the Depression and the Axis powers. As for the private Roosevelt, Smith reveals him as a devoted son; an unhappy husband who eventually settled into an uneasy peace and working partnership with his wife and cousin Eleanor; an emotionally absent father; and a man who for years devotedly loved two women other than his wife — Lucy Mercer Rutherford and Missy LeHand, the latter his secretary. This erudite but graceful volume illuminates FDR's life for scholars, history buffs and casual readers alike. Photos not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "For Smith, Roosevelt remains a beacon of presidential leadership, a man who led his country during the darkest of days and found a way to restore hope in a time when there was none to be found. Telling FDR's familiar story with aplomb may not be a new deal, but it is a worthy one." (read the entire CSM review)
"Review" by , "An outstanding biography....Altogether, an exemplary and highly readable work that ably explains why FDR merits continued honor."
"Review" by , "This page-turner is the best single-volume biography available of America's 32nd president, complementing the recent work of Doris Kearns Goodwin (No Ordinary Time) and Conrad Black (Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom). Essential."
"Review" by , "With its ensuing narrative on FDR's comeback in 1932, launch of the New Deal, and decisions about war and peace, Smith's portrait will ground readers in FDR's controversies and historical stature."
"Review" by , "Smith's richly researched — nearly 200 pages of notes and bibliography — look at the president is one of those monumental works that at the same time does not lose sight of the individual at its heart."
"Synopsis" by , From Pulitzer finalist Smith comes another lucid, well-written, tightly organized biography. The Roosevelt that emerges from this book is a man of enormous complexity.
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