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Before the Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt, 1882-1905 [Kindle Edition]

Geoffrey C. Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $12.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Before Pearl Harbor, before polio and his entry into politics, FDR was a handsome, pampered, but strong-willed youth, the center of a rarefied world.  In Before the Trumpet, the award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward transports the reader to that world—Hyde Park on the Hudson and Campobello Island, Groton and Harvard and the Continent—to recreate as never before the formative years of the man who would become the 20th century’s greatest president. Here, drawn from thousands of original documents (many never previously published), is a richly-detailed, intimate biography, its central figure surrounded by a colorful cast that includes an opium smuggler and a pious headmaster; Franklin's distant cousin, Theodore and his remarkable mother, Sara; and the still-more remarkable young woman he wooed and won, his cousin Eleanor. This is a tale that would grip the reader even if its central character had not grown up to be FDR.

Editorial Reviews


“Suffused with magic . . . a wonderful book.” —John Lukacs, The Philadelphia Enquirer

“An engrossing biography . . . Magnificent social history . . . a triumph of scholarly detective work.”—The New Yorker

“The freshest and most penetrating study of the young FDR.” —Chicago Sunday Tribune

“The texture is  . . . richer, the detail more finely tuned than in any other portrait.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Quite the best thing I have ever read about FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt.  The wonder is that [it] unearths so much new and revealing material—letters, conversations, insights . . . appealing and inspiring.”—Atlanta Constitution

About the Author

Geoffrey C. Ward is the coauthor of The Civil War (with Ken Burns and Ric Burns), and the author of A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, which won the 1989 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and the 1990 Francis Parkman Prize.

Product Details

  • File Size: 8912 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 9, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J1ISLC6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,460 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Most comprehensive biography about FDR's youth... November 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I’m not sure how Before the Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt 1882-1905 by Geoffrey C. Ward escaped my notice for so long. After seeing Ward recently at the Free Library of Philadelphia, I decided to read his two earlier books about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I am a person who loves the prequel, the sequel, and the minutiae in-between. Having a large personal collection of books about FDR, I find myself reading the same information over and over again. Well, Before the Trumpet was eye-opening on many levels and I enjoyed it immensely.

Before the Trumpet covers young FDR from 1882 (his birth) until his marriage to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905. The first quarter of the book is actually devoted to the backgrounds of the Roosevelt and Delano families. The Delanos were especially fascinating as FDR’s grandfather, Warren Delano, Jr., spent many years in China and was involved in the opium trade.

As for FDR’s youth, Ward goes into great detail about episodes that are superficially covered in other biographies. These include his years at Groton and Harvard, his time at Columbia, his early career in the law, and his courtship of his distant cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt. Before the Trumpet also dissects his relationship with his domineering mother (Sara) and his sick father (James). For instance, FDR became an avid collector in his youth of stamps, birds, books, naval prints, etc. Collecting allowed him a measure of independence from his mother and “in arranging his birds or stamps he was able to order a world of his own, one in which his mother was only an interloper.” Still, he wasn’t able to totally cut the apron strings as Sara controlled the purse strings until the day she died in 1941.
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Before the Trumpet is the first of a two volume biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (182-1945) who served as POTUS for twelve years. FDR was a great chief executive who wisely guided the United States through the terrible years of the Great Depression and World War II. Volume II ":A First Class Temperament": covers FDR from his marriage to Eleanor in 1905 to his first election to the governorship of New York in 1928.
Before the Trumpet is a beautiful piece of historical research and narrative skill. Geoffrey C. Ward, a collaborator with Ken Burns the documentary filmmaker of renown, is the author. Ward is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a polio survivor. This volume was published in 1989,
' FDR was born into great wealth. His mother Sarah Delano was the second wife of James Roosevelt. James was a widower with a son Rosy when he wed the beautiful and strong willed Sarah. Her family had been in the opium and shipping business with China. Her father Warren lived and worked for many years in Canton. James had many business interests including railroading.
He was much older than Sarah. FDR was an only child and a mother's boy. He was educated at Groton and Harvard. FDR had a gregarious personality and was an avid collector of books, stamps (over one million at the time of his death), shipping prints and animals and birds which he had hunted. He and his father loved horses and hiking the beautiful Hudson Valley. Young FDR traveled widely in Europe where his heart weakened father took the waters in Germany. FDR was the apple in Sarah's eye. She even moved to Boston to be close to her darling boy while he was attending Harvard. FDR served as editor of the Harvard Crimson in the class of 1904. In 1905 he married Eleanor his fifth cousin.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Biography on Franklin Roosevelt's Early Years. November 2, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the best -- and most comprehensive -- biographies of Franklin Roosevelt covering his childhood and early years. Fascinating look at his family and parents -- and the importance of Hyde Park as the 'grounding place' for the future president. Highly recommended.
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