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Young Mr. Roosevelt: FDR's Introduction to War, Politics, and Life Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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[A] perceptive demi-biography of FDR's political maturation under the eyes of two other great presidents A lively, insightful account of FDR's early years.”
Washington Times, 10/1/13
There are several reasons for students of the life of the monumental American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to buy this book It is the first effort devoted solely to the critical eight years of FDR's life from 1912 to 1920, when he evolved from a generally dismissed lightweight dabbler in politics to a formidable national political figure Author Stanley Weintraub, at 84 and still going strong, is at the top of his writing game that now approaches its 50th anniversary. Mr. Weintraub's output over this past half-century is impressive for both its scholarship and literary accessibility It is a good beginning for those interested in the evolution of the most influential figure of our immediate history.”
You could fill a library with books about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only man to win four elections to the presidency, a man who led the nation through World War II, and a master politician. It is the younger Roosevelt who is often overlooked and Stanley Weintraub fills that gap It is a remarkable journey.”
New York Journal of Books, 10/8/13
Weintraub also paints a picture of early 20th century Washington, DC, where the residue of Victorian social mores make life resemble the novels of Henry James A brisk, short, and informative book.”
InfoDad Blog, 10/10/13
FDR fanciers who want to know more about the way he rose from inconsequential playboy state senator to major national political figure will find much to enthrall them in Young Mr. Roosevelt, and anyone who happens upon the book by chance will surely be fascinated by the photos showing a young, vigorous and decidedly not wheelchair-bound FDR.”
San Francisco Book Review/Sacramento Book Review, 10/15/13
Here we see FDR in his prime, long before polio took its toll. Weintraub captures the period of early twentieth-century mores with all the steamy implications bearing down on the highly visible marriage to Eleanor once the indefensible letters from Lucy Mercer are discovered in FDR's luggage.”
Hudson Valley News, 10/30/13
Weintraub tells us how the young Roosevelt learned from his follies and achieved his triumphs.”
BookNews.com, December 2013
Tells what it was like to live under the shadow of Uncle Ted' (Theodore Roosevelt).”
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Weintrub now needs to write about the polio years of FDR. This is a great book that could have used some better copy editing.
The story of Franklin Roosevelt's presidential years have been a meaningful book topic for many historians. In my reading over the past few years I have read several FDR biographies and related books the most noteworthy being "Traitor to His Class" by H.W. Brands.
"Young Mr. Roosevelt" limits the Roosevelt biographical examination to the years 1913-1920. Certainly the economic recovery in the 1930's and the war period are worthy topics for FDR biographers but this book makes ìvery clear that Roosevelt's experienced and associations during 1913-20 were critical to his successes in later years.
The author approaches his examination of FDR' public, private and political activities during this period in a methodical and chronological manner. At key points he pauses and expands upon selected topics such as the Lucy Mercer affair and it's ramifications and FDR's two trips to Europe as Navy Assistant Secretary under Josephus Daniels.
Some of the issues discussed that I found particularly noteworthy, in no order of importance, were as follows:
· Mentioned throughout the text are succinct comments on the influenza outbreaks, the tremendous toll in lives lost and the precarious state of Franklin's health particularly after his first trip to Europe during WW-I. The author notes FDR's excess smoking exasperated his respiratory problems and illnesses.
· A word about the 31 photographs spaced throughout the text in this book. There are several posed images - the usual mug shots - but the majority are fascinating candid shots that are worth a 2nd and 3rd look by Roosevelt students. I particularly liked those of Roosevelt in France during 1918 inspecting war supplies.
· The author makes a convincing case that FDR's future would had taken a decidedly different career path as a divorced man.
· I was aware that Louis Howe served as FDR political operator but was unaware the critical role he played as FDR's assistant in the Navy Department. Aside from managing activities in the office while the boss was ill, on inspection trips or in Europe he served as a conduit for important gossip and valuable advice.
· Franklin's close relationship with his "Uncle Ted" - Theodore Roosevelt - was a revelation. I knew he gave away Eleanor at the Roosevelt wedding but he was more that just a distant famous uncle. They exchanged letters and opinions on many topics. When Theodore died on January 6, 1919 at the age of sixty Franklin stated he was "the greatest man I ever knew".
· Franklin faithfully served President Wilson but agreed with Uncle Ted that the nation needed a stronger navy for the war just over the horizon.
· The years as Navy Assistant Secretary cemented Franklin's admiration of the Navy. On March 16, 1914 he ceremonially laid the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. While President he was informed that the Arizona was sunk at Pearl Harbor.
· Franklin was a dedicated practitioner of the "Old Boy school network". He wealthy Harvard pals had an "in" to the seat of power in Washington others could never achieve.
· We learn that President Wilson's chief political confidant, Colonel Edward M. House, had no military background whatsoever. The governor of Texas conferred his bogus title on him.
In my opinion this is a must read for individuals with an interest in Franklin Roosevelt. Notes and an index add to this books usefulness.
A nephew of Theodore Roosevelt, a former President, and married to his fifth cousin, the formidable Eleanor, he had all the right credentials for high office, but did he have the background experience necessary to take on the task he would eventually be elected to, for a record four times, amid the Great Depression and World War 2.
Born into a wealthy family, he grew up surrounded by privilege. Although he studied law at Harvard and Columbia University, he set his sights on greater glory than the law could produce.
In 1910 he ran for the New York State Senate, as a Democrat, unusual in a family of Republican tradition, and was elected.
An important influence in his life at this time was the rather scruffy, but able and loyal, Louis Howe, who was his right arm for many years.
During the 1912 National Democratic Convention, FDR supported Woodrow Wilson in his Presidential campaign, and on his election was rewarded with the appointment of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a job he did exceedingly well, being an enthusiastic and competent seaman himself. In the run up to America joining the Allies in WW1 he campaigned vigorously for the preparation for the coming war against much opposition and indeed "wanted himself to get into the action but was not allowed as he was considerable too valuable as Assistant Secretary.
A handsome man, and banished from Eleanor's bedroom after her sixth pregnancy, he started an affair with his wife's social secretary, Lucy Mercer. When Eleanor discovered the liaison, she threatened divorce unless the affair ceased, although the relationship continued in secret.
In 1920' FDR accepted nomination for Vice President but was thrashed at the polls, although it gave him the national exposure that would be invaluable in his future.