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Franklin D. Roosevelt [Audio]

A Political Life

By Emeritus Professor Robert Dallek

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Format: CD-Audio
Published In: 07 November 2017
A one-volume biography of Roosevelt by the #1 New York Times bestselling biographer of JFK, focusing on his career as an incomparable politician, uniter, and deal maker In an era of such great national divisiveness, there could be no more timely biography of one of our greatest presidents than one that focuses on his unparalleled political ability as a uniter and consensus maker. Robert Dallek's Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life takes a fresh look at the many compelling questions that have attracted all his biographers: how did a man who came from so privileged a background become the greatest presidential champion of the country's needy? How did someone who never won recognition for his intellect foster revolutionary changes in the country's economic and social institutions? How did Roosevelt work such a profound change in the country's foreign relations? For FDR, politics was a far more interesting and fulfilling pursuit than the management of family fortunes or the indulgence of personal pleasure, and by the time he became president, he had commanded the love and affection of millions of people. While all Roosevelt's biographers agree that the onset of polio at the age of thirty-nine endowed him with a much greater sense of humanity, Dallek sees the affliction as an insufficient explanation for his transformation into a masterful politician who would win an unprecedented four presidential terms, initiate landmark reforms that changed the American industrial system, and transform an isolationist country into an international superpower. Dallek attributes FDR's success to two remarkable political insights. First, unlike any other president, he understood that effectiveness in the American political system depended on building a national consensus and commanding stable long-term popular support. Second, he made the presidency the central, most influential institution in modern America's political system. In addressing the country's international and domestic problems, Roosevelt recognized the vital importance of remaining closely attentive to the full range of public sentiment around policy-making decisions--perhaps FDR's most enduring lesson in effective leadership.

About the Author

Robert Dallek is the author of Camelot's Court, An Unfinished Life, and Nixon and Kissinger, among other books. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and Vanity Fair. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of American Historians, for which he served as president in 2004-2005. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Reviews

"A characteristically adroit work that is balanced in coverage and prudent in assessment. . . . [Dallek's] emphasis falls on the two great crises of FDR's presidency--the Depression and WWII--and highlights FDR's emergence as a skillful politician. . . . All will benefit from Dallek's principal addition to earlier works on FDR: the convincing argument that as early as May 1943 FDR was showing signs of the illness that would kill him. The result is a comprehensive retelling of a major American life that will rank among the standard biographies of its subject."--Publishers Weekly "This focused study of the four term-winning president emphasizes his instinctive feel for the public mood. . . . Dallek is a seasoned presidential historian and biographer. Here, he writes with authority about Franklin Roosevelt's political life and mission to create a 'new social order' during a time of 'enduring national transformation.' . . . Dallek examines several formative factors that contributed greatly to Roosevelt's ability to successfully tap the public sentiment and address significant issues. . . . The author also effectively shows how Roosevelt was an astute political animal who sometimes made questionable decisions for political expedience. . . . A lively one-volume treatment well-suited to libraries and schools."--Kirkus Reviews "[Dallek] takes on the daunting task of providing a comprehensive one-volume biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He succeeds in presenting the abundance of information in a flowing and highly readable narrative, and he supports FDR's story with memorable sketches of the president's many associates . . . his varied opponents, the foreign leaders who served opposite him (Dallek is particularly good on Churchill), and many others. Eleanor, too, is portrayed in full, complete with a notably honest account of her marriage to Franklin. . . . A first-rate biography and a must-buy for most public-library history collections."--Booklist (starred review) "Recounts the politician's greatest challenges, including trying presidential elections and the years leading up to and during World War II. Dallek's familiarity with his subject and deep understanding of American history and context shines in his clear and engaging prose. . . . readers will gain a solid sense of Roosevelt's political mind and an inspiring appreciation of his mighty character. . . . This highly recommended, expertly crafted book will please a variety of readers, especially those interested in biographies as well as presidential, military, and American history."--Library Journal (starred review) "Robert Dallek has brought a lifetime's immersion in the American presidency to produce what will almost certainly be seen as the most authoritative single-volume biography of our most important 20th Century president. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life is a landmark work that deserves to be placed on the same shelf as those of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., James MacGregor Burns, and William E. Leuchtenburg."--Richard Moe, author of Roosevelt's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War "A great liberal historian has written the best one-volume biography about our greatest liberal president. Sparing neither criticism nor admiration, Robert Dallek offers an FDR relevant to our sharply divided nation: a master politician who gained the trust of most of his fellow Americans by empathizing eloquently with their problems and working himself to death to solve them."--Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 "Robert Dallek is a leading authority on the presidency and his book on Roosevelt is a masterful and complex portrayal of one of America's greatest presidents, a leader who had the vision and character to reveal to the country its potential as a great nation."--Howard Dean, former DNC chairman and six-term governor of Vermont "Robert Dallek's brilliant portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt is an inspiring read, a timely reminder that political leadership involves judgment and intelligence. Battling the Great Depression and a global war, the 32nd president harnessed wisdom to decision making, and political acumen to governance. No historian understands FDR better than Dallek, who has captured in this single page-turning volume how America was really 'made great again.'"--Martin J. Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer Praise for An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917 - 1963 "One of the most engrossing biographies I have ever read. . . . An Unfinished Life is nothing less than a masterpiece."--David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln "It's hard to believe that someone could find anything new to say about John F. Kennedy, but Dallek succeeds in this riveting and well-documented biography."--The New Yorker "Comprehensive, judicious, evenhanded, original. An Unfinished Life has the sober judgement and nuanced accuracy that make it rung true in all the controversial and tricky parts."--Jack Newfield, Los Angeles Times "Neither debunking nor further mythologizing, Dallek fashions a balanced but fast-paced tale of sex and power that scribes from Shakespeare to Jacqueline Susann would have killed for."--Steve Dougherty, People "[Dallek] takes on the daunting task of providing a comprehensive one-volume biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He succeeds in presenting the abundance of information in a flowing and highly readable narrative, and he supports FDR's story with memorable sketches of the president's many associates . . . his varied opponents, the foreign leaders who served opposite him (Dallek is particularly good on Churchill), and many others. Eleanor, too, is portrayed in full, complete with a notably honest account of her marriage to Franklin. . . . A first-rate biography and a must-buy for most public-library history collections."--Booklist (starred review) "Robert Dallek has brought a lifetime's immersion in the American presidency to produce what will almost certainly be seen as the most authoritative single-volume biography of our most important 20th Century president. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life is a landmark work that deserves to be placed on the same shelf as those of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., James MacGregor Burns, and William E. Leuchtenburg."--Richard Moe, author of Roosevelt's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War "A great liberal historian has written the best one-volume biography about our greatest liberal president. Sparing neither criticism nor admiration, Robert Dallek offers an FDR relevant to our sharply divided nation: a master politician who gained the trust of most of his fellow Americans by empathizing eloquently with their problems and working himself to death to solve them."--Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 "Robert Dallek is a leading authority on the presidency and his book on Roosevelt is a masterful and complex portrayal of one of America's greatest presidents, a leader who had the vision and character to reveal to the country its potential as a great nation."--Howard Dean, former DNC chairman and six-term governor of Vermont "Robert Dallek's brilliant portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt is an inspiring read, a timely reminder that political leadership involves judgment and intelligence. Battling the Great Depression and a global war, the 32nd president harnessed wisdom to decision making, and political acumen to governance. No historian understands FDR better than Dallek, who has captured in this single page-turning volume how America was really 'made great again.'"--Martin J. Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer Praise for An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917 - 1963 "One of the most engrossing biographies I have ever read. . . . An Unfinished Life is nothing less than a masterpiece."--David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln "It's hard to believe that someone could find anything new to say about John F. Kennedy, but Dallek succeeds in this riveting and well-documented biography."--The New Yorker "Comprehensive, judicious, evenhanded, original. An Unfinished Life has the sober judgement and nuanced accuracy that make it rung true in all the controversial and tricky parts."--Jack Newfield, Los Angeles Times "Neither debunking nor further mythologizing, Dallek fashions a balanced but fast-paced tale of sex and power that scribes from Shakespeare to Jacqueline Susann would have killed for"--Steve Dougherty, People Advance Praise for Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life"Robert Dallek has brought a lifetime's immersion in the American presidency to produce what will almost certainly be seen as the most authoritative single-volume biography of our most important 20th Century president. Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life is a landmark work that deserves to be placed on the same shelf as those of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., James MacGregor Burns, and William E. Leuchtenburg." --Richard Moe, author of Roosevelt's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War "A great liberal historian has written the best one-volume biography about our greatest liberal president. Sparing neither criticism nor admiration, Robert Dallek offers an FDR relevant to our sharply divided nation: a master politician who gained the trust of most of his fellow Americans by empathizing eloquently with their problems and working himself to death to solve them."--Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 "Robert Dallek is a leading authority on the presidency and his book on Roosevelt is a masterful and complex portrayal of one of America's greatest presidents, a leader who had the vision and character to reveal to the country its potential as a great nation."--Howard Dean Praise for An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917 - 1963 "One of the most engrossing biographies I have ever read. . . . An Unfinished Life is nothing less than a masterpiece." --David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln "It's hard to believe that someone could find anything new to say about John F. Kennedy, but Dallek succeeds in this riveting and well-documented biography." --The New Yorker "Comprehensive, judicious, evenhanded, original. An Unfinished Life has the sober judgement and nuanced accuracy that make it rung true in all the controversial and tricky parts." --Jack Newfield, Los Angeles Times "Neither debunking nor further mythologizing, Dallek fashions a balanced but fast-paced tale of sex and power that scribes from Shakespeare to Jacqueline Susann would have killed for" --Steve Dougherty, People Praise for Camelot's Court "Dallek's portraits of advisers including Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Walt Rostow are lapidary, and it is difficult to quarrel with his judgments." --The New York Times Book Review "Dallek is an assiduous digger into archives. . . . The story of how a glamorous but green young president struggled with conflicting and often bad advice while trying to avoid nuclear Armageddon remains a gripping and cautionary tale of the loneliness of command." --Evan Thomas, The Washington Post "Think The Best and the Brightest meets Team of Rivals. . . . Dallek is one of the deans of presidential scholarship." --Beverly Gage, The Nation "Dallek brings us closer to the complexity and the humanity of Kennedy's geopolitics, and helps us grasp the uncertainties he and his men faced in an abbreviated presidency." --USA Today Praise for Camelot's Court -Dallek's portraits of advisers including Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Walt Rostow are lapidary, and it is difficult to quarrel with his judgments.- --The New York Times Book Review -Dallek is an assiduous digger into archives. . . . The story of how a glamorous but green young president struggled with conflicting and often bad advice while trying to avoid nuclear Armageddon remains a gripping and cautionary tale of the loneliness of command.- --Evan Thomas, The Washington Post -Think The Best and the Brightest meets Team of Rivals. . . . Dallek is one of the deans of presidential scholarship.- --Beverly Gage, The Nation -Dallek brings us closer to the complexity and the humanity of Kennedy's geopolitics, and helps us grasp the uncertainties he and his men faced in an abbreviated presidency.- --USA Today

EAN: 9780525497509
ISBN: 0525497501
Publisher: Books on Tape
Age Range: 15+ years
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