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That Man: An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt Paperback – December 16, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0195177572 ISBN-10: 0195177576 Edition: 1ST

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That Man: An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt + Robert H. Jackson: New Deal Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice, Nuremberg Prosecutor
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1ST edition (December 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195177576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195177572
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Robert H. Jackson was one of the ultimate FDR insiders. Nominated by Roosevelt to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1941, Jackson had previously served the president as attorney general, solicitor general and in other posts. More importantly from the standpoint of this book, FDR and Jackson were great personal friends: poker pals who had known and respected each other since their days as young Democrats exploring the possibilities of Albany politics. Thus Jackson's never-before-published memoir (unearthed only recently by St. John's University Law School professor Barrett) is a rare find. Written not long before Jackson's untimely death in 1954, these superbly eloquent chapters provide intimate glimpses of Roosevelt operating on many different levels. Through Jackson's informed lens, we are shown FDR as president, politician, lawyer, commander-in-chief, administrator, populist leader and companion. Jackson's account is not only of infinite value for the new light it sheds on "that man," but also for unique glimpses of Harold Ickes, Tommy "the cork" Corcoran, Harry Hopkins and other New Deal stalwarts. A foreword by noted historian Leuchtenburg does a thorough job of setting Jackson's prose in historical context. Of equal value are the contributions of Jackson biographer Barrett, who has artfully illuminated Jackson's text with necessary and unobtrusive notations.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"Barrett has done an admirable and even heroic job, partly by interpolating some of Jackson's other writing, including unpublished materials and excerpts from an oral history, in which Jackson answered detailed questions about his life and his career. As a result, there is now a genuine book, one that contains some illuminating discussion of historical events. Most important, the book offers a fresh occasion for considering the personality and career of the greatest leader of the twentieth century, memorably described by Isaiah Berlin as the only statesman in the world upon whom 'no cloud rested.'"--Cass Sunstein, New Republic


"Lively, revealing and suddenly relevant.... Jackson's memoir sheds new light--not always flattering--on important events and on a president who too often appears only in silhouette: a felt fedora, an upward-tilting chin, a cigarette holder clenched in a grin."--Jeff Shesol, New York Times Book Review


"The publication of this slender but meaty book is that rare and happy event: a voice speaking to us from the past, a voice we had not expected to hear and that brings the past to life as not even the best of historians can do."--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post


"An intimate and inspiring portrait of Roosevelt. He is seen as both charming and determined, while often elusive and enigmatic.... Understanding Franklin Roosevelt better is a constant challenge for students of history: He has been scrutinized a great deal but not often with the benefit of such a vantage point."--Wall Street Journal


"A thoughtful, fresh, useful look at FDR. With powerful respect, even awe, for the man, Jackson nevertheless insisted on seeing him in a very human way--filled with greatness, yet flawed like all of us. It's a memoir that reflects the best of Jackson: candid, honest and tellingly expressed."--Stanley Kutler, Los Angeles Times


"A winning memoir--the story of Jackson's life in the White House; a powerful portrait of our 32nd president; and, most of all, a tribute to the humanity and the vision that stood at the heart of the Roosevelt administration.... A unique historical find.... It contains a trove of new information about Roosevelt's life."--Matthew Dallek, The Washington Monthly


"That Man is a great find--the last memoir of Franklin D. Roosevelt by someone who worked with him and knew him well. Next to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Robert H. Jackson was the best writer on the Supreme Court in the 20th century, and his portrait of 'that man in the White House' is filled with astute insights and warm recollections. It is a book no fan of FDR can do without."--Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.


"Franklin D. Roosevelt was the dominant political figure of the last century. Robert H. Jackson, Supreme Court Justice, was one of the essential figures in his life. Professor John Q. Barrett, a highly qualified authority on the subject, has now brought this relationship fully to light. I urge this volume for all who would know more of what could be the greatest days of Washington. I use the term cautiously: an indispensable book."--John Kenneth Galbraith


"These superbly eloquent chapters provide intimate glimpses of Roosevelt operating on many different levels. Through Jackson's informed lens, we are shown FDR as president, politician, lawyer, commander-in-chief, administrator, populist leader and companion. Jackson's account is not only of infinite value for the new light it sheds on 'that man,' but also for unique glimpses of Harold Ickes, Tommy 'The Cork' Corcoran, Harry Hopkins and the other New Deal stalwarts."--Publishers Weekly


"Painstakingly, insightfully--even lovingly--assembled from notes and fragments found in a dusty closet belonging to Robert H. Jackson's recently deceased son, this remarkable and eminently readable volume--a newly available first-hand account of FDR as politician, lawyer, administrator, and commander in chief, written by an astute participant and brilliant observer who also happened to be the most piercingly eloquent writer ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court--will intrigue and inform anyone interested in the history of America's involvement in World War II or in the American presidency and the West Wing under FDR in an era a half century old that turns out to bear a surprising resemblance to our own."--Laurence H. Tribe, Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School


"Intelligent, informed thoughts on FDR's presidency.... The intimate look into the way decisions were made brings Roosevelt very much into human focus."--Kirkus Review


"A long lost gem has been unearthed after a half century. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson's first hand portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is as close as we are likely to get to deciphering the enigma that was FDR. Jackson, associate and friend, confidante and poker playing pal of the President, was perceptive enough to recognize the genius and honest enough to admit the flaws beneath his subject's seductive geniality. We are further indebted to the book's editor, John Q. Barrett, for rescuing this priceless memoir from an obscurity that would have left us poorer in our understanding of America's towering 20th Century statesman." --Joseph E. Persico, author of Roosevelt's Secret War


"For those with enough time and interest in the subject to warrant going through a study of much more than a thousand pages, [Conrad] Black's biography is worth reading. But most readers, as well as professional historians, will find Justice Jackson's "insider's portrait" of Roosevelt of greater interest."--Robert S. McElvaine, Professor of History, Millsaps College, Jackson, MS, and author of The Great Depression:America, 1929-1941


"Well worth reading...is the fascinating discovery, long after his death, of the reminiscences by Robert Jackson, FDR's Attorney General, a Supreme Court Justice, and maybe the closest friend of the president to have written about him. That Man is not only personally fascinating but of real historical interest on the subject of Lend-Lease."-- Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The Spectator



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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hobart VINE VOICE on September 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a long-time admirer of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I am always intrigued by new books that are published regarding his life or his Presidency. A book from a contemporary source that has such "insider" knowledge of how FDR operated as Robert Jackson is a marvelous addition to the existing literature.
Jackson does not make any promises at the outset of the book except to be objective, and he certainly does meet this goal. Jackson describes FDR as President, Commander-in-Chief, and a human being, outlining his strengths as well as his weaknesses. Jackson makes no excuses for the President when his policies and knowledge did not seem to be best for the country (Jackson even criticizes FDR for his lack of economic knowledge and business sense).
I enjoyed Jackson's writing style (he is considered by many to be one of the best authors to ever sit on the Supreme Court of the United States), and I found that the book was easy to read.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in President Franklin Roosevelt - the stories and anecdotes given in the text make it highly readable, and the examples Jackson provides to detail his points are always logical and related to the subject at hand.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on May 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting book which adds something of great value to the ever-growing mound of books on FDR. The fact that the manuscript was uncovered in a closet some 50 years after it was written is something for which students of FDR and presidential power can give thanks. It presents an entirely unique view and highly personal perspective on interacting with Roosevelt. Some of the most interesting discussion relates to interacting with FDR and his circle on an informal basis, such as on those fishing trips FDR savored. Also of great interest is the light the book throws on Jackson's own career--from the Treasury, to the SEC, then to Justice where successively Jackson was in the Tax Division, headed the Antitrust Division, became Solicitor General and Attorney General, and ultimately was elevated to the Supreme Court. Along the way we gain a fascinating perspective on such events as the Court Packing plan. The strongest chapter is on "That Man as Politician;" the most interesting "That Man as Companion and Sportsman." The editor has done an outstanding job in providing extensive notes, material from other sources to supplement the narrative, and in providing a biographical directory. But it is Jackson's own narrative skill that makes the book read so well. With a new major biography of Jackson himself on the horizon, this book becomes even more essential.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas G. Matowitz Jr. on August 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a well written book that provides a vivid portrait of Franklin Roosevelt by a contemporary who knew him well.The book languished unpublished for many years.Those interested in FDR have reason to be grateful that it was rediscovered. The editor did a fine job, allowing Jackson to speak in his own voice. His writing style is vivid and eloquent, and the book offers many insights into Roosevelt as a politician, leader, and friend.
While it is obvious that Jackson thought a great deal of his subject, he discusses FDR in a very matter of fact and objective fashion. I was especially struck by his assessment of Roosevelt's physical handicap, and the effect that it had upon his life.
A brief but memorable anecdote recounts his surprise at Harry Truman walking in to an outer office to greet visitors, something that was never seen during Roosevelt's presidency. As Roosevelt recedes further and further into the past this book becomes more valuable. Highly recommended.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joyce McChesney on June 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Robert H. Jackson's insightful and previously unpublished observations of FDR in his presidency appear and are notated in Professor Barrett's THAT MAN in a very readable arrangement. Here is a true and objective account by one who was there and witnessed the inside of the FDR years in the White House. These Jackson writing's being posthumous adds rarity and validity to the work, making it a true find for serious Roosevelt and Roosevelt period historians.
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By Tim Field on October 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
A reader needs to approach this book with the understanding that it has limitations. That Man: An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt was unfinished at the time of Robert H. Jackson's death. Editor John Q. Barrett has done a masterful job of editing the completed chapters and supplementing them with letters, journals and oral histories by Jackson, which he ties together as seamlessly as possible.

The book is lumpen and misshapen, but not without merit. Reading this book gave me a sense of what FDR was like as a person, and how he functioned as president. Jackson does not engage in gossip and focuses mainly on the policy areas in which he was involved, which is sometimes fascinating and sometimes dry. Despite being a close friend to FDR (as close as any person could be to this guarded man), Jackson strives to be even-handed in his assessment of Roosevelt as a man, a politician, and an administrator.

I recommend this book for readers who have had already read a biography or two of FDR; editor Barrett includes insightful footnotes and helpful biographical sketches in the back, but That Man remains a daunting read to the FDR newbie.
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