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That Man: An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195177572
ISBN-10: 0195177576
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 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: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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