President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) - the Best Books and DVDs

A Listmania! list by Todd Carlsen
The list author says: "Franklin Roosevelt led America out of the trauma of the Great Depression and to victory over Hitler in World War II. FDR said, "We must be the Great Arsenal of Democracy." His fireside chats build a bond with Americans. He was reelected by landslides. Because of the New Deal, decades of stable middle class prosperity followed. FDR’s Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter declared Roosevelt’s vision of world freedom. He tactfully pulled America from isolationism to WWII superpower and forged post-war policies of self-determination, collective security, free trade and economic stability. FDR hastened the end of colonialism. Presidential historians rate Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of America’s three greatest presidents. FDR created Social Security and the GI Bill (college for millions for the first time). Before FDR took office, the economy had been in Depression for three years. The financial system had collapsed. FDR said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The New Deal sought RELIEF, RECOVERY and REFORM. The New Deal created SEC for safe financial markets, FDIC to end bank panics, CCC, Glass-Steagall Act for firewalls in finance, extensive WPA infrastructure projects put people to work, HOLC saved the 50% of all mortgages in default, FHA for modern 30-year mortgages (millions of homes for the middle class for the first time) and loan requirements (to prevent bad loans), unemployment insurance, Fair Labor Standards Act, Fed Reserve Board, rural electrification (for millions), farm supports, and ended a flawed gold standard. In FDR’s first four years, the DOW skyrocketed 353%, GDP grew 63%, personal income after taxes increased 45.5% and manufacturing employment rose 3.4% PER QUARTER. Worker productivity skyrocketed and hiring stagnated. A severe 1937-38 recession was caused when New Deal stimulus spending was sharply cut, reversed by massive WWII spending and ensuing full employment. Time named FDR one of the 20th Century’s three most important people."
FDR
1.  FDR by Jean Edward Smith
The list author says:
  "This book is the best introduction to FDR and a great biography. It won the Francis Parkman Prize for excellence in historical writing. FDR pulled America from isolationism to destroy Hitler in WWII. He said, "We must be the Great Arsenal of Democracy." He gave meaning to the war with his Four Freedoms and Atlantic Charter, hastening the end of colonialism."
$13.92   Used & New from: $3.30
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)

Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
2.  Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H. W. Brands
The list author says:
  "Historian H.W. Brands is one of the greatest writers of historical biographies. This FDR biography received strong reviews and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Roosevelt won the presidency four times, including the largest electoral landslide (98.5%) in the 20th Century."
$15.84   Used & New from: $4.02
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
3.  No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The list author says:
  "This book won the Pulitzer Prize. World War II was an era of great change. Franklin Roosevelt skillfully led America to victory in World War II. He made the right strategic moves and made the fewest mistakes of any world leader. Eleanor Roosevelt championed human rights and was a ground-breaking role model for women. This book tells the story of America during the war years."
$12.64   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (530 customer reviews)

American Experience: FDR
4.  American Experience: FDR DVD ~ Franklin Roosevelt
The list author says:
  "This is the best DVD documentary of FDR, narrated by the great historian David McCullough. If you buy a Roosevelt DVD, this is the DVD to buy."
$13.11   Used & New from: $8.99
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

The New Deal: A Modern History
5.  The New Deal: A Modern History by Michael A. Hiltzik
The list author says:
  "This is an excellent, fair and balanced history of the New Deal and Great Depression by a Pulitzer Prize-winning business correspondent."
$18.66   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom
6.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black
The list author says:
  "The Economist Magazine called this book "a masterpiece." Written by a conservative, the research is astonishing; the tidbits engrossing. It received great reviews from both the right, like Kissinger and Buckley, and the left. FDR led America through the Great Depression and to victory in WWII. This amazing book is a terrific history of the era. The author concludes that FDR was a great president."
Used & New from: $0.54
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)
7.  Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) by David M. Kennedy
The list author says:
  "This well-researched book won the Pulitzer Prize and Francis Parkman Prize. The writing vividly paints the period. It explains the economics of the era in a way that most people can understand. It is the standard summary of the era. But it downplays the strong New Deal recovery in FDR's first term (check the GDP and DOW numbers for EACH year in 1933-1937). Read a good FDR biography first."
$17.00   Used & New from: $3.67
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny
8.  Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny by Frank Burt Freidel
The list author says:
  "This benchmark FDR biography is excellent at reporting FDR's early years and struggle with polio. Roosevelt said, "There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.""
$26.99   Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage
9.  Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley
The list author says:
  "Written by a terrific biographer, this well-researched biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's relationship may become the benchmark. They had a remarkable marriage, helped each other tremendously, and changed the world. This book reveals the gossipy, private details while not getting sensational."
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4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War (Bluejacket Books)
10.  Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War (Bluejacket Books) by Eric Larrabee
The list author says:
  "This book won the Francis Parkman Prize. It profiles the US commanders and FDR during WWII. FDR made the right strategic decisions. He was terrific at picking the right leaders (sometimes out of obscurity). John Keegan called this book “the most comprehensive collective portrait of the American war leadership.”Arthur Hadley called it “brilliant.” David Eisenhower liked it."
$23.08   Used & New from: $3.00
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940
11.  Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940 by William E. Leuchtenburg
The list author says:
  "This book won the Bancroft Prize and Francis Parkman Prize. The New Deal created SEC for safer financial markets, FDIC to end bank panics, Social Security, unemployment insurance, Fed Reserve Board, rural electricity, FHA (created modern mortgages), Fair Labor Standards Act, CCC jobs, ended the ruinous gold standard, ended the economic contraction, Wagner Act, farm supports, and GI Bill."
$12.52   Used & New from: $7.48
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Warm Springs
12.  Warm Springs DVD ~ Kenneth Branagh
The list author says:
  "This is great entertainment with excellent acting. It tells the true story of the rich and powerful FDR becoming paralyzed with polio, and his discovery of Warm Springs, where he came to champion the concerns of the disabled and common man. Also check out the movie "Sunrise at Campobollo.""
$20.09   Used & New from: $8.85
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt
13.  A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt by Geoffrey C. Ward
The list author says:
  "This masterpiece of history won the Francis Parkman Prize by the Society of American Historians and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It tells the engrossing story of Franklin Roosevelt during his rich formative adult years, including his moving struggle with paralysis from polio. Superb! Ward also wrote a fine book about FDR's childhood called "Before the Trumpet.""
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4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
14.  The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany by William L. Shirer
The list author says:
  "This book won the National Book Award and is THE classic book on Hitler's dark rise to power during the depression, his crimes, and the catastrohic world war of world conquest he started. 60 million people died in World War II. This is one of the best-selling books of all-time. Must read!"
$19.76   Used & New from: $10.49
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (993 customer reviews)

American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work
15.  American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work by Nick Taylor
The list author says:
  "*Starred Review* An excellent book about how the New Deal and American workers built America's infrastructure during the Great Depression, building the groundwork for decades of booming economic growth. Other countries, such as Japan and China, have copied New Deal-style capitalism to great success: free markets with government investements and sensible regulations."
$15.79   Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
16.  Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham
The list author says:
  "Winston Churchill called Franklin Roosevelt "the greatest man I have ever known." They built a great partnership and won WWII, yet had their disagreements. Churchill became a futile defender of British colonialism, while FDR envisioned a world of post-war freedom."
$12.75   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox: Vol. 1, 1882-1940
17.  Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox: Vol. 1, 1882-1940 by James MacGregor Burns
The list author says:
  "This is volume one of the classic two-volume biography of Roosevelt by Burns. Roosevelt emerges as a cunning master-politician, hence the title (taken from Machiavelli). Volume two is the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom.""
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4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom: Volume 2, 1940-1945
18.  Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom: Volume 2, 1940-1945 by James MacGregor Burns
The list author says:
  "This classic won the Pulitzer Prize, Francis Parkman Prize, and National Book Award. It is a history of World War II and biography of FDR. It is volume two of the two-volume FDR biography by James MacGregor Burns."
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4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
19.  A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II by Gerhard L. Weinberg
The list author says:
  "This scholarly masterpiece emphasizing global strategic dynamics won the George Louis Beer Prize. It brilliantly explains the causes, major events, and reasons behind events - what and why – of World War Two. This is probably the best WWII book from a big-picture, strategic decision view. This is essential for US foreign policy in WWII."
$22.49   Used & New from: $18.00
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Eleanor and Franklin Double Feature (The Early Years / The White House Years)
20.  Eleanor and Franklin Double Feature (The Early Years / The White House Years) DVD ~ Edward Herrmann
The list author says:
  "This superb production won numerous awards. The story is based largely on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book "Eleanor and Roosevelt," making this DVD mostly from Eleanor's perspective. Fascinating history and great entertainment. Excellent acting. Highest recommendation."
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4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
21.  The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
The list author says:
  "Winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction. This is a simply incredible book about the severe catastrophe during the Great Depression called the Dust Bowl. A depression hit agriculture long before the collapse on Wall Street due to excess production during WWI. Coolidge did nothing to fix this. Also read John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning "Grapes of Wrath.""
$8.44   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,082 customer reviews)

Time For Kids: Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Leader in Troubled Times (Time for Kids Biographies)
22.  Time For Kids: Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Leader in Troubled Times (Time for Kids Biographies) by Jeremy Caplan
The list author says:
  "This is a great introduction to Franklin Roosevelt and his era for elementary school children. Only four presidents have memorials at the National Mall in Washington D.C. They are Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt."
$3.59   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Time For Kids: Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World (Time for Kids Biographies)
23.  Time For Kids: Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World (Time for Kids Biographies) by Editors of TIME For Kids
The list author says:
  "No other first lady has been more significant than Eleanor Roosevelt. She supported FDR and pushed him for policies benefiting the common good and lofty ideals, and then she was force in public. She pushed for the International Declaration of Human Rights at the U.N. that made the post-war world better and later helped fan dissent and unravel the Soviet Empire."
$3.59   Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933, The Age of Roosevelt, Volume I
24.  The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933, The Age of Roosevelt, Volume I by Arthur Meier Schlesinger
The list author says:
  "This history of the Great Depression won the Francis Parkman Prize and Bancroft Prize. Volume I details the decade before the economic collapse when the seeds of the disaster were sown and then the collapse from 1929 to 1933. Volume II covers FDR's first term beginning in 1933."
$30.36   Used & New from: $0.05
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

The Conscience of a Liberal
25.  The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman
The list author says:
  "NY Times columnist and Princeton economist Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics. In this easy-to-read book he details the positive long-term economic impact of the New Deal. The New Deal created a huge middle class and booming economic growth for the middle class for several decades. He shows how we later diverged from that and what we should do today."
$9.06   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability-And the Intense Efforts to Conceal It from the Public
26.  FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability-And the Intense Efforts to Conceal It from the Public by Hugh Gregory Gallagher
The list author says:
  "Roosevelt did not want anyone to know he was a paraplegic who could not move his body below his waist. His vibrant personality, confident optimism and silver tongue conveyed a vigorous image. He was a strong man. Also read "Hidden Campaign.""
$20.98   Used & New from: $0.32
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
27.  Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
The list author says:
  "This book won the Pulitzer Prize. It is a great history of the events leading to the Great Depression. Financiers made mistakes. The financial system was flawed, including a flawed version of the gold standard, money supply errors, World War I reparations, leveraged speculation, few financial regulations and a lack of good leadership. FDR removing USA from the gold standard and recovery ensued."
$11.02   Used & New from: $2.86
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights
28.  A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights by Elizabeth Borgwardt
The list author says:
  "Franklin Roosevelt profoundly changed the world with his vision for the post-war world. His Four Freedoms gave the war meaning. His moving words aimed for a world based on human rights and collective security. Colonialism and Nazism fell, and Communism would eventually fall to this new world of freedom."
$24.87   Used & New from: $4.93
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
29.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Russell Freedman
The list author says:
  "This is a great biography of Franklin Roosevelt for middle school and junior high students. Authoritative and easy to read."
$9.41   Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court
30.  Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court by Jeff Shesol
The list author says:
  "FDR's impact on the Supreme Court and the Constitution was enormous -- certainly among the biggest of any leader in American history. His court packing plan damaged his political capital substantially and was a big defeat. But he won the larger war. "The switch in time that saved nine.""
$24.07   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

The Juggler
31.  The Juggler by Warren F. Kimball
The list author says:
  "Franklin Roosevelt was clever. Warren Kimball was a great scholar of foreign policy during World War II. In this concise and readable book, he explains FDR's foreign policy. Roosevelt said, "I am a juggler" and that he would do whatever it took to win the war against Hitler, even if it meant being cunning."
$37.06   Used & New from: $0.21
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another
32.  Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another by Jonathan Fenby
The list author says:
  "Outstanding history and writing! The world today was monumentally changed during the diplomacy of World War II. FDR favored freedom for the people of the world based on the Atlantic Charter (based on his Four Freedoms.) Churchill tried to preserve the British Empire and colonialism. USSR sought a security buffer in East Europe. The Cold War emerged during WWII. FDR’s vision won in the long-run."
$23.52   Used & New from: $0.88
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945: With a New Afterword (Oxford Paperbacks)
33.  Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945: With a New Afterword (Oxford Paperbacks) by Robert Dallek
The list author says:
  "This book won the Bancroft Prize. It is the definitive scholarly history of Franklin Roosevelt's foreign policy. Also read Warren Kimball's "The Juggler" and Conrad Black's "Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom," which emphasizes FDR's foreign policy."
$38.00   Used & New from: $5.92
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers
34.  Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers by Joseph P. Lash
The list author says:
  "This book won the Pulitzer Prize and is a fascinating history of the Roosevelts. Although it is out of print, you can easily buy a good copy used at a good price."
$43.82   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created ModernAmerica
35.  Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created ModernAmerica by Adam Cohen
The list author says:
  "This is probably the best written history of FDR's Hundred Days and his energetic response to the Great Depression for 3 years under Hoover. The influences of the people in FDR's inner circle, such as Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins, are detailed. Hopkins and Perkins were especially important. However, much of the New Deal happened after the first 100 days, such as Social Security."
$15.30   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Presidents Series: The 32nd President, 1933-1945
36.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Presidents Series: The 32nd President, 1933-1945 by Roy Jenkins
The list author says:
  "This is a very brief and very good biography of FDR, if that is what you are looking for. There are several other outstanding full-length biographies of FDR that would be better. (See the books at the top of this list.)"
$15.82   Used & New from: $0.85
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal
37.  Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal by Kim Phillips-Fein
The list author says:
  "This is an outstanding history of the laissez-faire conservative movement that reacted (some would say overreacted) to the New Deal. This movement culminated in Ronald Reagan, who idolized FDR and was a New Dealer but changed."
$11.54   Used & New from: $5.18
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

The Faith of FDR -From President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Public Papers 1933-1945
38.  The Faith of FDR -From President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Public Papers 1933-1945 by William J Federer
The list author says:
  "When asked by a reporter what his philosophy was, FDR replied, "Philosophy? I'm just a Christian and a Democrat." FDR was a Christian president. He attended a Christian school and repeatedly mentioned Christianity in his speeches. Roosevelt destroyed the Godless Nazism. One of his Four Freedoms was Freedom of Worship. FDR was compassionate and created the safety net, including Social Security."
$25.28   Used & New from: $10.32
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

The Coming of the New Deal, 1933-1935 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. 2)
39.  The Coming of the New Deal, 1933-1935 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. 2) by Arthur Meier Schlesinger
The list author says:
  "...and this is volume two of Schlesinger's award winning history of the Great Depression era. This volume emphasized the first 100 days of Roosevelt's presidency. However, this book is a little outdated."
$14.46   Used & New from: $2.30
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War
40.  Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War by Warren F. Kimball
The list author says:
  "A classic and still the best book on the subject. Kimball specialized in the relationship between FDR and Churchill, including writing the best book on Lend Lease. He also was a scholar of FDR's foreign policy."
$17.00   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Todd Carlsen
Qualifications: Scholarly History Aficionado
Last updated: 11/16/13
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