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Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Book Review

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The book that I chose regarding the domestic policy of FDR is simply titled Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and is a member of the American Presidents Series. The author of this biography is Roy Jenkins, who is a British writer that has an analyzed world leaders, with previous titles such as: Truman, Churchill, Nine Men of Power, and the Chancellors. Considering that Lord Jenkins was chosen for the American Presidents Series I would anticipate that his credentials speak for themselves. The publisher of FDR is Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, LLC. It was published in New York, New York in 2003. The book contains 170 pages, ending with a 4 page bibliography.

In my opinion, FDR was historically congruous with everything I have personally read or have learned in your class this semester. It is actually remarkable that almost everything we have discussed in our class meetings concerning FDR could be retrieved throughout this book. That being said, I found this book to be incredibly wordy in certain areas and believe that it suffers from a lack of innovative themes surrounding the life of FDR. I could be underestimating this title for three reasons. First, after reading Men of Secrets, a book that proved to be very intriguing and full of new ideas, almost any book that I read succeeding it might seem somewhat dull. Second, in choosing a biography I should of suspected that the author would not stray too far from documented accuracy. Finally, with the amount of time we have spent in class assessing not only the domestic policy of FDR, but most aspects and circumstances surrounding his life, maybe the is not a significant amount left to learn regarding his presidency.

We have often discussed in class how we feel the presidents should be ranked against one another. Jenkins does not waste a moment in giving readers his scholarly perspective concerning this topic. "In any rating of presidents there can be no more than three of Roosevelt's predecessors who could be placed in contention with him, and of his successors there are so far none" (Jenkins, 1). In my mind, the only president that could logically be compared with Roosevelt is Lincoln. Evidence that Jenkins is in agreement with my assessment reads, "he (Roosevelt) was more tested in peace and war than any other president other than Lincoln" (Jenkins, 1). Regrettably, I have never discovered this angle in contrasting the American presidents, but this quote does create a powerful for FDR being the best president in American history. The case for FDR screams even louder when you consider that he sustained our economy following the Great Depression and Hoover's laissez-faire economic policies that allowed our financial strife to continue its downward spiraling, leading into FDR's presidency. Astoundingly, within a decade, "1941-45 saw an incomparable mobilization of American effort, industrial and military" (Jenkins, 3). After recognizing these facts, and facing the realization that not only did FDR save our country from the Great Depression, but he also, along with Churchill, saved the world from Hitler, I begin to lose faith in any argument questioning Roosevelt's supremacy.

Before arriving at Roosevelt's domestic policies of his presidency, Jenkins first analyzes the influence that FDR's cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, had on FDR's political future. In many ways, FDR followed a similar road that TR took in his ascent to the presidency. Even though each of them represented the rival parties of American politics. It was not by accident that both held offices in their home-state of New York, both served as assistant secretary of the navy, both were candidates to the vice-presidency(FDR lost his bid in 1920 with Cox leading the ticket), and both eventually became presidents(Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest to ever serve as president at the age of 42). But, the similarities between cousins do not end there. FDR married Eleanor Roosevelt, TR's (dead) younger brother's daughter, in 1905. TR was in the White House then, yet was in strong support of the marriage, he even offered the White House for the ceremony. "FDR went to Harvard and began consciously to imitate some TR's props and mannerisms. 'He adopted pince-nez spectacles and two of the older politicians favorite words- 'deelighted,' with a strong long 'e' on the first syllable and 'bully,' in the sense of good or superior, as in TR's famous later aphorism that the White House was 'a bully pulpit''(Jenkins, 15)

When TR bounced back on the political

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