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Traitor to his class : the privileged life and radical presidency of Franklin De
H. W. Brands
Adult Nonfiction E807 .B735 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

It is unfortunate for University of Texas historian Brands (Andrew Jackson) that his serviceable biography of Franklin Roosevelt comes on the heels of Jean Smith's magisterial Francis Parkman Prize winner, FDR (2007). Still, Brands provides an entirely adequate narrative detailing the well-known facts of Roosevelt's life. We have the young Knickerbocker aristocrat somewhat tentatively entering the dog-eat-dog world of local Democratic politics in New York's Hudson Valley. We have him embarking on a marriage with his cousin Eleanor that was fated to be politically successful but personally disastrous. We also have the somewhat spoiled son of privilege facing the first real battle of his life--polio--and emerging with greatly enhanced fortitude and empathy. Appropriately, Brands gives two-thirds of his book to FDR's presidency and its two most dramatic events: the domestic war against devastating economic depression (fought with tools that many in America's upper classes considered socialist), and the international war against Axis power aggression. It is fitting that Roosevelt commands the amount of scholarly attention that he does, but sad that so much is wholly redundant with what has come before. 16 pages of photos. (Nov. 4) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

According to the rankings of most scholars, FDR is the greatest American President of the 20th century. Brands (Univ. of Texas, Austin; Andrew Jackson) helps us understand why. Bringing his historical and biographical skills to the task of sifting through a huge number of earlier books on FDR, he provides a broad yet nuanced overview. Though Brands does not break new ground, neither does he sensationalize the more controversial aspects of FDR's personality and politics--contrary to what the subtitle might suggest. Rather, FDR is presented as a man who, in mapping his own career, relied heavily on the political career of Theodore Roosevelt and learned from the mistakes of Woodrow Wilson, in whose administration he served. The President's ordeal with polio tested and matured him so that he was ready to inspire a crippled nation during the Great Depression. Though he would blunder in the 1937 Supreme Court packing plan, which Brands labels "the biggest mess of his presidency," by 1942 he is considered by Brands to have been "the most powerful man in American history." The overall portrayal here reinforces the views presented in two first-rate recent biographies: conservative journalist Conrad Black's Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom and liberal political scientist Jean Edward Smith's FDR. All three are very readable and necessary for a full appreciation of America's 26th president. Highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/08.]--William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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