2016年1月31日 星期日

Franklin Delano Roosevelt By H.W. Brands


Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York in this day in 1882.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt in a speech (1935)
Before Pearl Harbor, before polio and his entry into politics, FDR was a handsome, pampered, but strong-willed youth, the center of a rarefied world. In Before the Trumpet, the award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward transports the reader to that world—Hyde Park on the Hudson and Campobello Island, Groton and Harvard and the Continent—to recreate as never before the formative years of the man who would become the 20th century’s greatest president. Here, drawn from thousands of original documents (many never previously published), is a richly-detailed, intimate biography, its central figure surrounded by a colorful cast that includes an opium smuggler and a pious headmaster; Franklin's distant cousin, Theodore and his remarkable mother, Sara; and the still-more remarkable young woman he wooed and won, his cousin Eleanor. This is a tale that would grip the reader even if its central character had not grown up to be FDR. READ an excerpt here:http://knopfdoubleday.com/book/241153/before-the-trumpet/

Websites

H.W. Brands
Book details
Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
By H.W. Brands


Doubleday; 896 pages; $35

Buy it at
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk






Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The man who saved his country, and the world

Oct 30th 2008
From The Economist print edition

If he is to succeed, America’s next president needs to inherit at least a modicum of the character and talent that FDR brought to his tasks

Getty Images
“MY POLICY is as radical…as the constitution,” said FDR during the 1932 election campaign when he was accused of wanting to nationalise the utilities. In this impressive new biography, H.W. Brands, who has written books about Andrew Jackson and Benjamin Franklin, stresses the contrast between Roosevelt’s aristocratic origins and his radical politics.
Roosevelt’s ancestor, Philippe De La Noye, joined the Pilgrim Fathers on the Fortune, the next ship to arrive in Plymouth after the Mayflower. He was descended from Hudson Valley landed gentry and millionaire New York merchants, and went to Groton and Harvard. He grew up in the world of Edith Wharton. His fifth cousin, Theodore, was president of the United States, and he married Theodore’s niece, Eleanor. (Mr Brands paints an understanding portrait of Eleanor and handles the couple’s infidelities with tact.)

Though he had patrician self-confidence, there was no snobbery in Roosevelt. Mr Brands quotes FDR’s friend, Ray Moley, as saying that there was nothing flabby about his charm: “When crossed he is hard, stubborn, resourceful, relentless.”
Roosevelt was prepared to be radical to meet dangerous circumstances. Yet his instincts and the outcomes of many of his policies were often conservative. As a radical, he saved the old order—and advanced American power more than any other president since Jefferson.
In short, he was an extraordinarily complicated man, and the author copes skilfully with his complexity. Roosevelt became assistant secretary of the navy at 31 but eight years later was struck by polio. Mr Brands does not give too much credence to the theory that its onset was somehow connected with the shame Roosevelt felt about his bureaucratic responsibility for a scandal involving the homosexual entrapment of sailors.
He was in any event severely crippled, even for a time paralysed and incontinent. But by 1924, three years after he became ill, he had emerged again as one of the big beasts of the Democratic Party. His resurgence owed something to the success with which he concealed his disability, something to an age when journalism was less intrusive than it has since become. But more than anything else, it was due to his titanic determination. In 1928 he was elected governor of New York and in 1932, at the height of America’s economic crisis, he was elected president.
Courage, charm, resourceful cunning and a hidden hardness enabled him to save American capitalism, though, as he said himself, it was Dr Win-the-War, not Dr New Deal, that ended the Depression. Mr Brands is masterly in describing the patience with which FDR brought the country to understand the danger of fascism. He is a bit less sure in his handling of international politics, adopting the traditional view that, in the strategic arguments over the second front, the American generals were right and Winston Churchill deluded by imperial nostalgia. He dismisses John Maynard Keynes as an “English intellectual”, in whom it was impertinence to offer advice to an American president, apparently unaware that Keynes was a player at the Paris peace conference.
Roosevelt was determined to destroy imperialism. Mr Brands gives perhaps too much weight to a late night conversation recorded by his son Elliott, in which FDR claimed that Churchill and De Gaulle were conspiring to preserve the British and French empires. There may have been some warrant for Roosevelt’s suspicions, but he was more aware than his son of the ambiguities of the Grand Alliance.
He possessed the subtlest political mind of his generation. At the same time he was a master of point-to-point navigation, moving not by plan but by instinct, tempered by experience.
Roosevelt was the greatest American president since Lincoln, his colossal abilities tested by personal illness, economic catastrophe and world war. He used every tool to hand to direct the United States in peace and war: party, bureaucracy, Congress and the media of the day. Whoever wins the presidential election of 2008 will find those levers rusted, weakened or twisted. His task will be to reconnect the presidency to the country and to the world—something that will take the talent and character Franklin Roosevelt brought to lead America from the nadir of economic distress to the zenith of power.
張貼留言

網誌存檔