Franklin D. Roosevelt: Road to the New Deal, 1882–1939

Roger Daniels. Univ. of Illinois, $34.95 (560p) ISBN 978-0-252039-51-5
This dry academic biography of F.D.R. (the first of two planned volumes) will have limited appeal for lay readers. Daniels (Prisoners without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II), a history professor at the University of Cincinnati, differentiates his approach from the legion of other F.D.R. biographers by “pay[ing] more attention to Roosevelt’s speeches than his other biographers had,” and making extensive use of New York Times coverage of his subject—his review of which found “hundreds of examples of otherwise unrecorded and obscure examples of formal, semiformal, and reactive utterances by Roosevelt.” There are sections that will interest non-experts, as in Daniels’s analysis of how F.D.R.’s tenure as governor of New York set him in good stead for his tenure as president. Still, despite the book’s length and its granular examination of F.D.R.’s policies, some readers will be frustrated by the offhand treatment of some major events, including Roosevelt’s first race for the White House and the near-successful attempt on his life in 1933. Daniels is at least consistent in addressing his stated purpose of explaining what F.D.R. “did and what he hoped would result,” rather than expounding upon “why this somewhat coddled son of American gentry became a tribune of the people.” (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/27/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 680 pages - 978-0-252-08427-0
Hardcover - 680 pages - 978-0-252-03952-2
Paperback - 568 pages - 978-0-252-08380-8
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