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Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945: With a New Afterword (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – May 25, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0195097320 ISBN-10: 0195097327 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (May 25, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195097327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195097320
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.7 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A dazzling narrative...elegant...history on the grandest scale, embracing a world-wide cast of characters and all the continents....All the heroes and villains of the day before yesterday are alive again in these pages--particularly Churchill, Stalin, DeGaulle, and Chiang."--New York Times Book Review

"A book that will become a landmark in its field, indispensable to scholars and critical to our understanding of American foreign policy."--The New Republic

About the Author

Robert Dallek is at University of California, Los Angeles (Emeritus).

More About the Author

Robert Dallek is the author of Nixon and Kissinger, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, among other books. His writing has appeared in the The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, 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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Canellis on March 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
In one volume, Robert Dallek has attempted to counter the vast amount of printed material covering Franklin D. Roosevelt's domestic policies during the 1930's and 1940's. The result is a mammoth effort that sheds light on the enormous pressures Roosevelt faced both at home and abroad during the turbulent decades when the world struggled to emerge from the shambles of a Great Depression, and prepare itself for a global conflict. Dallek argues that most historians do not fully understand the nature of Roosevelt's foreign policy. Dallek also claims that researchers tend to focus on FDR's shortcomings without emphasizing the constraints with which he was forced to work. Dallek's main purpose is to highlight the continual dilemmas Roosevelt faced in an effort to always strive for balance and compromise between public opinion and foreign affairs. FDR realized the need to break the country away from isolationism and place it in the global arena, both economically and politically, while at the same time facing the growing threat from the Axis powers. Though Dallek is noted as a gifted narrator, it is Roosevelt's leadership style,criticized as somewhat unorthodox,and the many quandaries in which he prevailed that provides the strength of Dallek's book. Dallek chose a ridged chronological format, which he maintained throughout the book. The chronological methodology in essential to enable the reader to understand the patterns that emerged within Roosevelt's style of leadership. For instance, rather than try to sway public opinion as to why the United States should supply aid to its allies or begin preparing for war, Roosevelt instead would allow the events then taking shape in Europe and Asia to speak for themselves to convince the American public.Read more ›
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mike B on January 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
An excellent account of U.S. foreign policy as waged by the Great Man Roosevelt. There are details in this book which are not found in others. Dallek is not regurgitating other writer's viewpoints. All points are lucidly explained - for instance Roosevelt's dealing's with Chaing Kai-shek and his cabinet member's - Cordell Hull, Sumner Welles...

The enormous opposition Roosevelt faced from isolationists is discussed at length. No one can doubt after reading this how short-sighted these people were in relation to the futuristic Roosevelt. Roosevelt was the rare politician who could project into the future. His vision was not just the short-term but the long view. In 1941 he triggered the second version of the United Nations during his meeting with Churchill off of Newfoundland. He was giving the world - like Nazi occupied Europe - an alternate and much more benevolent view.

The only omission I found was the Royal visit of the King and Queen of England to Washington and Hyde Park in the summer of 1939 - just prior to the outbreak of war. At the time this was another attempt by Roosevelt to bring Americans closer and more sympathetic to the building conflict in Europe.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Todd Carlsen on June 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
This encyclopedic, academic book won the Bancroft Prize and is the best single-volume book on Franklin Roosevelt's foreign policy. Roosevelt was a very clever leader. He understood the importance of public opinion and balanced American idealism with realistic pragmatism. This book covers FDR's foreign policy - his aims, means, and results. Some of the highlights include the fact that FDR had to govern in an isolationist nation, which forced FDR to tactfully manage public opinion to deftly lead America out of isolationism and confront Hitler. Dallek describes looking at his foreign policy as looking through a kaleidoscope. It appears to make no sense until you see the mechanism behind the scenes. Another highlight is his effort to bring meaning to the war with his Four Freedoms. The ingenious Lend-Lease plan gave aid to Britain in a way that the public could accept - although with heated debate. He likened it to lending a hose to a friend with a house fire. He proposed this at great political risk, since opposition was heated and an election was approaching. But he won his policy and it was a landmark moment. Some people suggest that FDR's foreign policy was uneven and confusing, but that was mainly FDR's obtaining his goals in light of the political winds.

For anyone interested in FDR's foreign policy I highly recommend this classic by Dallek, along with Conrad Black's masterpiece "Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom," Burns's "Soldier of Freedom," Langer's "The Challenge to Isolation," Greenfield's "America's Strategy in World War II," Kimball's "The Juggler" and Gerhard Weinberg's excellent "A World at Arms," which emphasizes the diplomatic and political aspects.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Whetstone Guy on August 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I completely endorse the review of Greg Goebel who rated this book a 4 star. His review is below. I have some additional thoughts. They are:

The book focuses on foreign policy and military decisions in Europe, Russia, and China. Why did the author, Robert Dallek, not discuss any decisions FDR made to America's military campaign in the Pacific?

I was surprised that FDR made so many military decisions. He was very wise and knowledgeable about European matters.

Professor Dallek had a tremendous number of notes for this book. He is a true professional historian.

Review by Greg Goebel

"The title of Robert Dallek's FDR & AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY actually describes this book very neatly: it's a comprehensive overview of all US foreign policy during the Roosevelt II Administration -- not just US policy relative to the emerging Axis powers, but also to Latin America and elsewhere.

As the title also might suggest, this is basically a scholarly book, not really suitable for readers who haven't obtained a general idea of the broad sweep of American international politics in the era. It's for readers who want to get the nitty-gritty on the matter and it can even be a bit of a slog for them. As scholarly books go, however, it is not extremely long nor particularly dry; but it's not a book for casual reading, either."
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