The Roosevelts: An American Saga

Peter Collier, Author Simon & Schuster $27 (542p) ISBN 978-0-671-65225-8
The Roosevelt dynasty that gave the U.S. two presidents was divided into hostile factions, show Collier and Horowitz ( The Kennedys ). Theodore (TR), the Republican president from 1901 to 1909, led the Oyster Bay branch of this New York family, while his cousin Franklin (FDR), a four-term Democratic president (1933-1945), represented the Hyde Park Roosevelts. Relying heavily on quotes from earlier studies, the authors deliver an entertainingly gossipy but unbalanced history of the clan that focuses on TR, FDR and their wives and children. Bestowing a heroic man mantle on TR, they justify his controversial acquisition of Panama while portraying him as a caring family man. FDR, who overcame the crippling effects of polio, is credited with shrewd political instincts but presented as emotionally withdrawn. The most unflattering portrait is of Eleanor, TR's niece and FDR's wife, who is depicted as unattractive and neurotic, a terrible wife and mother who was responsible for the problems of her five adult children. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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