The Making of FDR: The Story of Stephen T. Early, America's First Modern Press Secretary

Linda Lotridge Levin, Author . Prometheus $27.95 (538p) ISBN 978-1-59102-577-1

University of Rhode Island journalism department chair Levin (Rhode Island: The Independent State ) delivers a smart and definitive Early biography. Although the subtitle perhaps overstates Early's influence, he was undoubtedly a key player in FDR's presidency, and he reshaped and redefined the position of White House press secretary. Exploring a wealth of previously untapped archives and enjoying full cooperation from the Early family, Levin documents the former star reporter's long association with FDR, commencing in 1912, 20 years before the latter's election to the White House. In splendid detail, Levin demonstrates how Early, the son of a Virginia railway clerk, altered the way the Harvard-polished, New York Knickerbocker president communicated with the people, moving above and beyond print journalists to explore the full potential of newsreels and radio. Early was also in charge of making sure that the citizens of a nation crippled by the Depression only saw images of their president that depicted him as a robust and confident gladiator for the common man. This is a must-read for anyone interested in FDR and his era or in the power of presidential image makers. Illus. not seen by PW . (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/19/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 538 pages - 978-1-61592-190-4
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