cover image The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns. Knopf, $60 (576p) ISBN 978-0-307-70023-0

In this impressively thorough history, and companion piece to a forthcoming PBS series, historian/screenwriter Ward and producer/director Burns (Baseball: An Illustrated History) examine the lives and careers of one of America’s most memorable political dynasties, the Roosevelts, as represented by Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin. Starting with Teddy’s asthma-plagued youth and ending with Eleanor’s death in 1962, every aspect of their lives and legacies is touched upon. Hundreds of photos, newspaper clippings, and accompanying captions flesh out the story, which expands to cover their friends and family, enemies, and (alleged) lovers. While none of the brief, chronological entries are incredibly deep, each offers a solid background to the relevant material, providing an engaging look at America during the first half of the 20th century. Part history, part biography, Ward and Burns strike the perfect balance between information and entertainment, keeping the tone casual yet authoritative. It would be a monumental task to cover any one of the three in full detail; this, then, is the perfect coffee table book treatment for such a trio. Agent: Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. (Sept.)