"No president since the founders has done more to shape the character of American government," notes Alan Brinkley in this magnificent biography of America's thirty-second president. "And no president since Lincoln has served through darker or more difficult times. Roosevelt thrived in crisis. It brought out his greatness, and his guile. It triggered his almost uncanny ability to communicate effectively with people of all kinds. And at times, it helped him excoriate his enemies, and to revel in doing so." This brilliant, compact biography chronicles Franklin Delano Roosevelt's rise from a childhood of privilege to a presidency that forever changed the face of international diplomacy, the American party system, and the government's role in global and domestic policy. Brinkley, the National Book Award-winning New Deal historian, provides a clear, concise introduction to Roosevelt's sphinx-like character and remarkable achievements.
In a vivid narrative packed with telling anecdotes, the book moves swiftly from Roosevelt's youth in upstate New York-characterized by an aristocratic lifestyle of trips to Europe and private tutoring-to his schooling at Harvard, his brief law career, and his initial entry into politics. From there, Brinkley chronicles Roosevelt's rise to the presidency, a position in which FDR remained until death, through an unparalleled three-plus terms in office. Throughout the book, Brinkley elegantly blends FDR's personal life with his professional one, providing a lens into the President's struggles with polio and his somewhat distant relationship with the first lady. Franklin Delano Roosevelt led the United States through the worst economic crisis in the nation's history and through the greatest and most terrible war ever recorded. His extraordinary legacy remains alive in our own troubled new century as a reminder of what bravery and strong leadership can accomplish.