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American Experience: FDR
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I believe the document is truly unique. Having lived through that era, I found nevertheless that there were countless aspects to the man and his works that I had simply not been aware of. I bought the package after seeing it played elsewhere. It was a bargain. I expect to see it many times again over the coming years.
But it still expresses such admiration of Roosevelt's personal courage, wit, intelligence, and leadership qualities. Well, if the shoe fits, wear it. Roosevelt earns the title of "best president of the twentieth century." He saw us through the worst economic events we ever experienced, and through our worst war.
Could he have done better? Sure. But Beethoven could have written a better ninth symphony, too. In demonstrating the art of leadership, he was indisputably brilliant - not perfect.
I loved the special footage here of Roosevelt's personal life. It is not only inspirational - it also shares the sheer joy of the man's existence in the face of terrible personal crisis and disappointment. Loving life is what it's all about.
An added impetus to do that search was the recent passing of the legendary oral historian, Studs Terkel, whose bread and butter was to capture the memories of the generation that was most influenced by FDR's policies and whose oral histories have been the subject of many reviews of late by this writer. A biographic refresher on FDR thus seemed to be written in the stars. I found, for a quick overview of this subject, the perfect place to start is this American Experience four- part production on the life, loves, trials, tribulations and influence of this seminal American bourgeois politician.
That said, if one is looking for an in-depth analysis of the role that FDR played in saving the capitalist system in America in the 1930's, or the concurrent rise of the imperial presidency under his guidance, or the increased role of the federal government through its various executive agencies or the role of his "brain trust" (Rexford Tugwell, Harry Hopkins, Harold Ickles, etc.Read more ›
The film explores FDR's patrician, Hudson Valley background, his lonely days at Groton, his less than stellar years at Harvard, and his early adulthood and marriage to cousin Eleanor, a time when he seems to have drifted without direction, and the ever-present influence of his mother Sarah (although the film soft-pedals the extent of her manipulativeness).
FDR seems to have found himself when he entered politics. He served an appreticeship as a NY state legislator, antagonising the political machine with his independence. He became assistant secretary of the navy, and rather churlishly did his best to undercut his very gracious and patient boss. He was a vice presidential candidate. FDR was a young man on the rise--and then polio struck.
The film points out that the several years of unsuccessful therapy and soul-searching made FDR a different man, one much more able to sympathize with the sufferings of others. (During this time, he also sunk a good deal of his personal fortune into the founding of a polio clinic at Hot Springs, Georgia). After regaining confidence and a certain amoung of mo mobility, he became the reform governor of NY and soon thereafter president.
Given the economic crisis that the world is currently going through--of which, I suspect, we've only seen the initial stages thus far--"FDR's" account of Roosevelt's struggle to do something about the Great Depression is especially interesting and timely. FDR, like so many of his patrician friends, had always thought that the market ought to correct itself without governmental "interference.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love history. American Experience is a quality show. Could tone down the music a bit.Published 19 days ago by Kindle Customer
excellent dvd showing life of Franklin Roosevelt. I bought this for more detail after watching Ken Burn's "the Roosevelts".Published 11 months ago by Richard S Westfall
A very informative documentary this dvd really covers FDR's entire life and gives you a great insight to his lif.Published 18 months ago by george taaffe