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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Presidents Series: The 32nd President, 1933-1945 Hardcover – November 4, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
Surprisingly, these restrictions hamper Jenkins less than one might expect. Although I would have preferred a much longer biography from him, what we have here is a highly serviceable biography that reflects Jenkins unique and mildly eccentric point of view. Jenkins, as in his other books, is far more concerned with conflict of personality than with intellectual or policy disputes. He is always at his best when describing how two individuals mesh or clash, the alchemy of personality. As a result, this book is more of a biography of Roosevelt's relationships than his policies and ideas. This is true also of his books on Gladstone and Churchill, and is both his virtue and vice as a writer.Read more ›
I believe that Jenkins is correct, that FDR became one of the greatest Presidents due to the war. He led the United States in a great mobilization effort. Certainly, responding to events can make one great and FDR's optimistic leadership during the war made him great. This does not mean that he is beyond criticism, and Jenkins offers very little of that. Again, as a Labour party menmber, he would not have been as staunchly anticommunist as a Conservative, such as Churchill or later, Thatcher. Therefore, he spares FDR of any criticism for Yalta. His view is that since the USSR already occupied Poland, there was nothing to give away.
I must contrast this book with another book in the American Presidents series, Tom Wicker's biography of Eisenhower. Wicker could find almost nothing Ike did as President that did not deserve criticism.Read more ›
Jenkins was an Englishman active in Labour politics for half a century, and his is a very British take on Roosevelt's life, which both works and doesn't work to Jenkins' advantage. It is always problematic when an author is not of the same nationality as the person he's writing about (William Manchester's still-to-be-completed biography of Churchill, for example, was much criticized by the British). Where Jenkins gains in giving us a new perspective on a oft-told tale, he sometimes loses in dragging in references to the subjects of his previous books (an occupational hazard of the prolific biographer) or comparing some American political situation to its British equivalent when the comparison is tenuous at best.
Some of his more British asides are lost on the average American reader (as when he opines that the style and appearance of Groton, the prep school that Roosevelt attended, supposedly an imitation of Eton, "were much more like Cheltenham's or Marlborough's"). Also, because the author died before he had the chance to read proof, the text is not as precise as it might have been had the author lived longer (there is at least one sentence that defeats my attempt to make sense of it grammatically - it starts on the 19th line of page 73 and begins with the words "In consequence...").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I grew up in the Roosevelt years and have read several historical novels about FDR.. I found more negative facts and discussions in this than in most. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Edwin Whiteford
Only book I have ever read in which the author died half way through.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
A great story of this president. I liked him much more after I saw the film.Published 21 months ago by Linda Walmer
Certainly one of the most important political figures of the 20th century. The problems that he was faced with including the Great Depression and the Initial war in Europe and then... Read morePublished on August 6, 2014 by richard e whitelock
The publishers need to publish the few remaing presidents missing in this series. Otherwise should be required reading for all.Published on May 23, 2014 by Morton A. Hirschberg
I was very disappointed by this book, one of several I have read in the "American Presidents Series. Read morePublished on May 15, 2014 by Amazon Customer
I read all the Biographies of the Presidents by way of the Presidential series. If you are going to do it, read John Hancock first because he was the first Continental Congress... Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by Frank Anderson
For the most part, the hallmark of this "American Presidents" series is its ability to balance material about the personal lives of each U.S. Read morePublished on June 23, 2013 by Zachary Koenig