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Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox (1882-1940) [Kindle Edition]

James MacGregor Burns
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This first of Burns’s definitive and award-winning two-volume biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, mapping the personal and professional development of one of America’s most brilliant politicians
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the longest serving president in US history, reshaping the country during the crises of the Depression and World War II. But before his unprecedented run as president, there were decades of steady consolidation of power. Here, renowned historian James MacGregor Burns traces Roosevelt’s rise and the peculiar blend of strength and cunning that helped make him such a uniquely transformative politician. Weaving together lively narrative and impressive scholarship, The Lion and the Fox is among the first—and most acclaimed—studies of Roosevelt’s time, his talents, and his flaws.

Editorial Reviews


“A case study unmatched in American political writings.” —Newsweek
“A sensitive, shrewd, and challenging book” —The New York Times
“An absorbing narrative, rich in detail . . . a brilliant full-length portrait of Franklin Roosevelt the politician.” —The Christian Science Monitor

About the Author

James MacGregor Burns (b. 1918) is a bestselling American historian and political scientist whose work has earned both the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Born in Boston, Burns fell in love with politics and history at an early age. He earned his BA at Williams College, where he returned to teach history and political science after obtaining his PhD at Harvard and serving in World War II. Burns’s two-volume biography of Franklin Roosevelt is considered the definitive examination of the politician’s rise to power, and his groundbreaking writing on the subject of political leadership has influenced scholars for decades. He currently serves as the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government Emeritus at Williams College and as Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the University of Maryland.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2389 KB
  • Print Length: 547 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (May 8, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007GSU1BM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,603 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Political Biography of a Great President April 4, 2001
I recently had occasion to re-read James MacGregor Burns's marvelous Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox and was deeply impressed by how well its has withstood the test of time. The early paperback edition of this book, which was originally published in 1956 and covers the period from 1882 until 1940, characterized it as the "first political biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt," and it continues to be the authoritative study of Roosevelt's preparation for and then conduct of his first two terms as president, when domestic affairs demanded most of his attention. This remains a wonderful book about this country's greatest politician of the 20th century, and it also offers many penetrating insights into the American political system.
Burns's treatment of Roosevelt is comprehensive, "[treating] much of [Roosevelt's] personal as well as his public life, because a great politician's career remorselessly sucks everything into its vortex." Roosevelt was the only child of a member of the upstate New York landed gentry, and he could have led a life of leisure. Instead, he was sent to Groton School in Massachusetts, where the headmaster, according to Burns, "made much of his eagerness to educate his boys for political leadership." Roosevelt completed his formal education at Harvard College and Columbia University Law School. Burns writes that Roosevelt's first elective office, as a New York State Senator was a "political education," and he became a "Young Lion" in Albany. Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in Washington, D.C., during World War I and was the candidate for Vice President on the Democrat Party's unsuccessful ticket in 1920. In 1921, Roosevelt was stricken with polio, and the crippling disease would have ended the public career of a less ambitious and determined man.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly Insightful March 16, 2000
Gives a fantastic account of FDR from his privileged childhood and days at Groton, to his harsh induction into the world of politics; the skill at which he maneuvered the political currents to the New York Capital in Albany, and ultimately the White House. Once there Burns gives an account of passionate dedication to the American people, both during the Depression and WWII, that most likely was not seen since Lincoln. A must for anyone's Presidential Biographical collection.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Title Says It All August 29, 2000
FDR was perhaps the craftiest politician to occupy the White House since Lincoln. The Title, "...Lion and the Fox" is an allusion to Machiavelli's dictum that one must be stouthearted like a lion and crafty like a fox. FDR combined these qualities to achieve political mastery of his time.
This book focus on his life up to the start of WWII. It paints a thorough life portrait of the president and illustrates the events and experiences that shaped this master politician. Although enjoying congressional majorities like no other president (that certainly aided the implementation of his program), FDR had to over come the reluctance of both GOP and Democrat conservatives to rework the federal government into the active economic and social player it is today. McGreggor's book explains how FDR the man made the New Deal possible.
This is a well written book that gives evidence of being thoroughly researched. For anyone interested in presidential history, I'd recommend this book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for FDR fans! March 18, 1997
By A Customer
This is the best account of pre-WWII FDR that has been
written. Burns combines established facts with a commentary
that examines the 32nd President's possible psychological
views on issues. From major decisions during the New Deal
to relationships with Eleanor and staff members, Burns
paints an objective picture of FDR. The picture is neither
rosy nor clouded, but is an intimate portrait of the longest-
serving President in American history.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Political Biography January 20, 2008
This first of a two volume biography of FDR gives the reader an excellent introduction to the life of this most significant icon of the Twentieth Century. Although primarily a political biography, Author James MacGregor Burns gives the reader an introduction into the ancestry and early life of FDR.

FDR's education was received in the rarified air of Groton, where he under the tutelage of Rector Endicott Peabody, and Harvard, where he was a "C" student. His mother, Sara, moved to Boston to be near him during his time at Harvard, much like Douglas MacArthur's mother during his time at West Point. Formal education was completed at Columbia Law School, preparatory to his brief legal practice.

Roosevelt's life in the Democratic Party began with a call to run for the state senate in 1910. His position as a reformer made him an opponent of Tammany Hall. Over time he learned to retain his reform image while learning to work with the machine. His rise was not uninterrupted, as his 1914 attempts to run first for governor and then the US Senate were unsuccessful. His service as Undersecretary of the Navy in the Wilson Administration advanced his renown so that he was nominated for vice-president in 1920.

FDR's promising career was nearly brought to an end in 1921 by polio during a visit to the family cottage on Campobello Island. Burns tells the story of his convalescence and rehabilitation, culminating in his appearance at the 1924 National Convention to nominate Al Smith "The Happy Warrior".

Although 1924 brought crushing defeat to the Democrats, it was the start back for Roosevelt. Smith's presidential nomination in 1928 opened the governor's office for FDR who, in another Republican year, won a narrow victory, followed by a landslide in 1930.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent history
We are still the heirs of FOR and the New Deal. For the first time since the Civil War the federal government was confronted with almost insoluble problems. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Douglas A. Haff
4.0 out of 5 stars ... such an insightful saga that sometimes makes you feel like a fly...
This is such an insightful saga that sometimes makes you feel like a fly on FDR's office wall. It also helped explain to me the checks and balances of the US political system and... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Dennis Rutzou
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Biography
This is the best biography of FDR I have read because it focuses on his leadership during troubled years (1928-1940) in this country. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lavon Gappa-Levi
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow but Historic Read
The thoroughness of Mr. Burns research was both a blessing and a obstacle. The Lion and the Fox contained too many facts, names, and information to make this book an easy read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ricky Berglund
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring.
It has a lot of political subjects which I was not interested in. Boring.
Published 1 month ago by Phyllis Noonan
3.0 out of 5 stars To me as a foreigner, it delivers, I ...
To me as a foreigner, it delivers , I think, an impartial portrait of a man and a politician, devoid of the classic aura of infallibilty and genious that the hagiographies usually... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mario
3.0 out of 5 stars Burns is a fine writer and historian
Burns is a fine writer and historian. I don't think this is one of his better efforts; not really that much new in it.
Published 1 month ago by Byron Higgins
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it right away!!
Terrific!! Like all of Professor Burns' books.
Published 1 month ago by Victile Donahue
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed a trip back in history and the relivance today
Published 1 month ago by Linda Poyner
5.0 out of 5 stars Roosevelt
Excellent political history. One of the best books on Roosevelts administration I have ever read.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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