Top positive review
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The highly readable, elegantly told story of FDR’s early life and first two terms as President.
on October 27, 2015
"Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox” is the first volume of James MacGregor Burns' magisterial two-volume biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). It’s the first major scholarly biography of the 32nd President of the United States after his death in 1945. (The second volume, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom," focuses on FDR's wartime presidency during the years 1940-45.)
In "Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox," Burns brilliantly encapsulates FDR’s life from his birth in 1882 through his election to a third term as President of the United States in 1940. Burns touches only lightly upon Roosevelt's early political career as a legislator and governor of New York; the book's primary focus is on FDR as political leader during his first two terms as President (1932-1940). Burns presents Roosevelt as a man of both great ideals and principles (the “Lion”); and a man of great pragmatism and political shrewdness (the “Fox). His ideals and principles gave him the compassion and overall vision he needed to lead America out of the Great Depression, and his practicality and craftiness gave him the tools he needed to make whatever compromises and deals were necessary in order to achieve his overall political objectives.
Throughout this outstanding book, which was first published in 1956, James MacGregor Burns displays both an elegant, fast-paced, and highly readable writing style, and a tremendous depth of scholarly research. Although this book has perhaps become a bit “dated” by recent advances in FDR scholarship, it remains one of the best biographies about Franklin D. Roosevelt currently available. It’s certainly one of my personal favorites. Most highly recommended.