From the acclaimed author of John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, the autobiography of one of America's greatest presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Roosevelt was the only American president ever to serve four terms. He came from the highest echelons of American society, and though progressively incapacitated by polio from the age of thirty-nine, never showed the slightest self-pity, refusing to allow the disease to constrain his ambition or his place in public life. During the Depression of the 1930s he became the foremost presidential champion of the needy, instituted the famous New Deal and brought about revolutionary changes in America's social and political institutions. Two years into the Second World War he persuaded Americans that it was their unavoidable duty to fight, and brought about a profound reversal in the country's foreign policy. During that titanic conflict he formed a unique friendship with Winston Churchill, and became the central figure in the Western Alliance.
Dallek attributes FDR's success to two remarkable political insights. First, more than any other president, he understood that effectiveness in American politics depended on building a national consensus and commanding stable long-term popular support. Second, he made the presidency the central, most influential institution in modern America's political system. In addressing the country's international and domestic problems, Roosevelt recognized the vital importance of remaining closely attentive to the full range of public sentiment around the decisions made by government-perhaps his most enduring lesson in effective leadership. In an era of national and international division, there could be no more timely biography of America's preeminent twentieth-century leader than one that demonstrates his unparalleled ability as a uniter and consensus maker.
Robert Dallek is the author of John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, 1917-1963, Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President and Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. He won the Bancroft Prize in 1980 for his classic Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of American Historians, for which he served as president from 2004 to 2005. He lives in Washington, DC.
Prologue: Everything to Fear
Chapter 1: The Making of a Patrician
Chapter 2: The Making of a Politician
Chapter 3: Polio
Chapter 4: "Chameleon on Plaid"
Chapter 5: "Instrument of Their Wishes"
Chapter 6: "Trustee of the Existing Social System"
Chapter 7: Mastering Washington "Bedlam"
Chapter 8: Triumph of the New Order
Chapter 9: Second-Term Curse
Chapter 10: The Worst of Times
Chapter 11: Dangerous Abroad, Uncertainties at Home
Chapter 12: Faux Neytral
Chapter 13: "Safe on Third"
Chapter 14: The Path to War
Chapter 15: Setbacks and Losses: "We might Lose this War"
Chapter 16: The ENd of the Beginning
Chapter 17: "High Promise of Better Things"
Chapter 18: "Dr. Win the War"
Chapter 19: The "Good Soldier"
Chapter 20: Winning the War, Planning the Peace
Chapter 21: Last Full Measure