FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: A RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY
by Frank Freidel
ISBN 978-0-945707-37-7 $37.50
710 pages including notes, acknowledgements & index plus illustrations.
Now Frank Freidel, Charles Warren Professor Emeritus of American History at Harvard, has written a one-volume complete biography of the greatest president, and one of the outstanding world leaders, of the twentieth century. Drawing upon extensive sources and recent scholarship, Professor Freidel traces Roosevelt's life, emphasizing the forces that shaped his political views and policies.
The biography deals in detail with Roosevelt's life before his presidency - his privileged upbringing, his courtship and passionless marriage to his cousin Eleanor, the ordeal of polio, his political coming of age as governor of New York. There is a wealth of previously unpublished material, particularly about his relationship with Eleanor during the crisis over his relationship with Lucy Mercer, and about his struggle to recover from polio. But the focus is on his often controversial ideas and actions as he undertook to modernize the nation during the Depression, and to take the lead in establishing a secure world order during World War II.
In reappraising Roosevelt's most notable domestic triumph, the New Deal, Freidel questions whether this far-reaching program represented a radical departure from American tradition. He sees Roosevelt as a brilliant politician, with a surprisingly mainstream temperament, who took his cue from the electorate.
The wartime period was Roosevelt's finest hour, and Freidel has found fascinating new and significant dimensions to his diplomacy and conduct of the war. The heroic story of Roosevelt's leadership during World War II has never been more dramatically or more insightfully told. Freidel thoroughly explores questions that have haunted Roosevelt's posthumous reputation: To what extent did he try to manipulate the United States into entering World War II? And what, if any, was his knowledge of Japanese plans to attack Pearl Harbor?
By assiduously analyzing Roosevelt's character and actions, Frank Freidel brings to life both the complex inner man and the dynamic, charismatic public figure. Freidel's masterful interpretation is destined to stand as Roosevelt's definitive political biography.