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Final Victory: FDR's Extraordinary World War II Presidential Campaign Hardcover – July 3, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly, 3/26/12

“Weintraub paints a vivid portrait of the public mood and of FDR literally willing himself to victory with a relatively unknown running mate, Harry Truman…Historically satisfying, bringing the events to life with telling anecdotes, Weintraub’s book portrays a political icon determined to make his mark on America and the world in the twilight of his life.”

Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/12

“In this well-researched, engaging history, Weintraub effectively brings the players to life, portraying the public and private faces of the witty, indomitable FDR and his opponent, the stiff, humorless New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey…Weintraub shows how Roosevelt, despite his illness, was still a force to be reckoned with…A well-drawn political history of FDR’s last days.”


Unshelved Book Club, 5/4/12

“[A] satisfyingly gossipy history of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s campaign for an unprecedented fourth term.”

WWII History, July 2012

“[An] engrossing work dealing with the only American president to serve more than two terms.”

Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, 7/3/12

“[A] well-researched and entertaining voyage through that long-ago, unprecedented campaign.”

Milwaukee Sunday Journal Sentinel, 7/9/12

“Briskly written…Weintraub does a great job turning what could be a predictable subject (we know how it turns out, after all) into a page-turner. And he shows some interesting same-as-it-ever-was parallels to today.”

Hudson Valley News, 7/18/12

“Weintraub has brought it all back…This book reads like a novel. Whether or not you remember those days, they will come to life for you while reading this book.”

InfoDad.com, 7/26/12

“[Weintraub] is certainly aware of ways in which the 1944 election has resonance with later ones…Weintraub does a good job of using primary sources and of humanizing grand events of the day.”

Bookviews.com, August 2012
”A fascinating visit to the past."

Reference & Research Book News, August 2012
“[Weintraub] employs an anecdotal/narrative sort of approach to the topic, offering a snapshot of the political mood and contexts of the country at a time of war as much as he considers the specifics of Roosevelt's decisions and activities as he campaigned with the relatively unknown Harry Truman.”

Library Journal, 8/10/12

“Enjoyable and readable. Weintraub knows the literature and how to hold a reader’s attention. Political junkies will especially enjoy it during this electoral season.”

Roanoke Times, 8/12/12

“An in-depth account of the election of 1944…Some readers might see an eerie similarity between the 1944 campaign and the 2012 campaign.”

Lowell Sun, 8/5/12

“[A] great summer read for both lovers of politics as well as history buffs.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/19/12

“Offers a detailed look at the 1944 race and contains details that even the most inveterate reader of FDR books will find fresh…A penetrating look at a seminal campaign and an intriguing view of American history, Final Victory examines, with scholarship and sense, a unique moment in politics and a fascinating look at some of the major political and military figures of the Second World War. Weintraub…again demonstrates his skill at examining the republic in moments of crisis.”

Asbury Park Press, 8/19/12

“Weintraub d

The Military Advisor, Winter 2014
“This is a marvelous treatise by a noted World War II author on the last of four of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidential races—run in the middle of the war, no less!...This is an outstanding tale of a democracy successfully preparing to possibly change leaders in the midst of its greatest war, as well as a tale that all FDR fans and foes will want to read and cherish.”

H-Net Reviews
“Weintraub weaves a careful, smooth approach to political history…His style is prescient and richly historical…A fluid and provocative historical study…A short, light read…Lively and informative.”

About the Author

Stanley Weintraub is a preeminent historian and an award-winning author of more than fifty highly acclaimed books of history and biography, including Pearl Harbor Christmas, Silent Night, 11 Days in December, Victoria, and Disraeli. He lives in Newark, Delaware.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1St Edition edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306821133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306821134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,430,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Stanley Weintraub has written about 50 books. That's both a strength and a weakness. It means that he has had lots of practice to develop a pleasant style of writing, but also that he appears to write his books without enough care, with more of a desire to finish and move on to the next one than to be concerned about accuracy or engage in research that involves new, primary sources.

"Final Victory" tells the story of FDR's last presidential campaign, in 1944, this one against Republican Tom Dewey. Unfortunately, Weintraub focuses on FDR's side of the campaign at the expense of the Dewey side. More balance would have been helpful. And, at times, the text is repetitive. This book could have benefited from better editing.

Overall, the book is basically a rehash of what has been written many times before, in both FDR biographies and other political history books of the period. Weintraub relies heavily on secondary sources and previously published primary material. The only apparent original research he engaged in was to have two assistants interview about 20 World War II veterans to determine GI's voting preference in the 1944 campaign. Unremarkably, Weintraub concludes that they overwhelmingly supported their commander-in-chief, FDR. This has been known for many years, as far back as newspaper accounts during the '44 campaign.

The book's many factual errors are a major drawback. Weintraub is often sloppy, sometimes getting dates mixed up, misunderstanding events, and, at worst, not understanding his own sources. All of the errors should have been caught by a good editor, but they were not. Therefore, reading should be done with some care.
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Format: Hardcover
Having recently read Stanley Weintraub's interesting book on the events that occurred in December 1941 (Pearl Harbor Christmas) I was quite excited to see his relatively quick publication of FDR's last presidential campaign in 1944. Weintraub has an interesting, efficient writing style that keeps your attention dispite the mundane historical facts that could easily muddle the narrative flow.

What interests me most, however, is how he takes a singular event and weaves a great deal of information into it. The doctor's care (or lack thereof) he received, for instance, begs to question wether Roosevelt might have lived out his final term if he would have been forced to take better care of himself. Whereas today's press has a great deal of influence in political elections, Weintraub illustrates how Roosevelt used his savvy and experience to charm writers and personalities to support him despite legitimate arguments that his policies were not always successful or widely supported. As Weintraub points out FDR may well have not been our best leader, but he was the only one people had known for 12 years.

While Weintraub's narrative deftly details the inevitable re-election of FDR, it is his inclusion of minute details during the era that adds to the book. Truman's reluctance to accept the role of vice president, Roosevelt's choice of shipping mogul Henry Kaiser as a likely successor, FDR's efforts to hide his physical issues during campaigning---those and multiple other comings and goings makes this book read much like a good fictional tale that's well constructed and coordinated.

For readers interested in the next signicant issue in Roosevelt's life, I recommend FDR's Funeral Train by Robert Klara. This fascinating 2010 book gives you further details regarding many of the issues and people Weintraub's book introduces and together they present a wonderful condensed view of the final year of the war and Roosevelt's life.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a long standing interest in FDR and have read most of the standard biographies of him that have appeared over the years. As a result, I found little in this book that is new to me. I was surprised to find so little information about Thomas E. Dewey. I don't think the book makes clear why he was chosen as the Republican nominee or why party leaders thought he had a reasonable chance to defeat Roosevelt. Like other reviewers, I am troubled by the volume of factual errors presented in this book. Several times the author asserts that the Western Allies were fighting against the German Reichswehr in the autumn of 1944. The Reichswehr was the token army allowed to Germany under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and was limited to 100,000 men. It ceased to exist with the formation of the Wehrmacht in 1935, nearly a full decade before the action described in the book. I don't think it is proper to blame errors like this on editors and fact checkers. If they weren't made in the first place it wouldn't be necessary to correct them. The presence of mistakes like this implies a belief that the book's audience is badly informed and won't know the differance, an assumption that I trust is false.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
FINAL VICTORY: FDR'S EXTRAORDINARY WORLD WAR II PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN is author Stanley Weintraub's fiftieth book, give or take a few, and it feels a bit like it. Mr. Weintraub has developed an eminently readable style in the course of his prolific career as an author. Nevertheless, any author with that many books over his byline is going to have a few toss-offs, and FINAL VICTORY is just light enough reading to fall into that category. There are a few minor errors (ER's New York address is misreported), and Weintraub does not factor the pervasive war news into his electoral equations with regularity.

Other reviewers have critiqued FINAL VICTORY as not giving enough weight to New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, FDR's opponent in the wartime Presidential campaign. However, given that the subtitle references "FDR's Campaign" it should be clear to any reader that Dewey is a supporting character in the story, albeit an important one. It's also clear that Weintraub is an admirer of FDR. However, Dewey gets plenty of coverage, even if we don't get to visit the inner workings of his campaign.

The 1944 Presidential campaign was FDR's to lose. No other President had ever run for a fourth term. Other Presidents had run for a third term, including FDR's predecessor-in-office, political role model and cousin and uncle-in-law, Theodore Roosevelt. However, even the immensely popular TR hadn't won a third election. No President had. A fourth term had no precedents at all. FDR's attempt at a fourth term alarmed even some Democrats, mostly Southern Dixiecrats, who feared he was planning to establish an electoral monarchy.

There were other issues haunting the presumptive fourth term. The most critical, and the most well-hidden, was FDR's declining health.
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