FDR: Into the Storm 1937-1940

Kenneth Sydney Davis, Author Random House (NY) $35 (691p) ISBN 978-0-679-41541-1
The narrative pace is leisurely but engrossing in this fourth volume of a projected five-volume biography. Addressing FDR's public and private behavior during his second term as President, Davis takes the time to explore Roosevelt's involvement in the management of his Hyde Park estate, his innocently flirtatious relationship with one of his daughters-in-law (causing son James to become jealous of his own father) and a feud between the First Lady and one of her friends (revealing, as Davis puts it, her ``cruelly vengeful'' side). Particular emphasis is laid on Roosevelt's attempt to ``pack'' the Supreme Court, his response to the growing threat of fascism in Europe, and the unexpectedly strong challenge by Republican Wendell Wilkie in the 1940 presidential campaign. Drawing on FDR's press conferences, ``fireside chats,'' formal addresses and conversations with cabinet members, congressmen and advisers, Davis assembles a full portrait of one of our most forceful, effective yet inscrutable presidents. This is a major work by a biographer with exceptional psychological insight. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993
Release date: 03/01/1993
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