Books

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Robert Dallek

From the acclaimed author of John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, the autobiography of one of America's greatest presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was the only American president ever to serve four terms. He came from the highest echelons of American society, and though progressively incapacitated by polio from the age of thirty-nine, never showed the slightest self-pity, refusing to allow the disease to constrain his ambition or his place in public life. During the Depression of the 1930s he became the foremost presidential champion of the needy, instituted the famous New Deal and brought about revolutionary changes in America's social and political institutions. Two years into the Second World War he persuaded Americans that it was their unavoidable duty to fight, and brought about a profound reversal in the country's foreign policy. During that titanic conflict he formed a unique friendship with Winston Churchill, and became the central figure in the Western Alliance.

Dallek attributes FDR's success to two remarkable political insights. First, more than any other president, he understood that effectiveness in American politics depended on building a national consensus and commanding stable long-term popular support. Second, he made the presidency the central, most influential institution in modern America's political system. In addressing the country's international and domestic problems, Roosevelt recognized the vital importance of remaining closely attentive to the full range of public sentiment around the decisions made by government-perhaps his most enduring lesson in effective leadership. In an era of national and international division, there could be no more timely biography of America's preeminent twentieth-century leader than one that demonstrates his unparalleled ability as a uniter and consensus maker.

John F. Kennedy

Robert Dallek

Updated edition of the authoritative single-volume biography of John F. Kennedy. Drawing upon first-hand sources and never-before-opened archives, prize-winning historian Robert Dallek reveals more than we ever knew about Jack Kennedy, forever changing the way we think about his life, his presidency and his legacy.

Dallek also discloses that, while labouring to present an image of robust good health, Kennedy was secretly in and out of hospitals throughout his life, soill that he was administered last rites on several occasions.

He never shies away from Kennedy's weaknesses, but also brilliantly explores his strengths. The result is a full portrait of a bold, brave and truly human John F. Kennedy.

Nixon and Kissinger

Robert Dallek

In this epic and revelatory joint biography, one of America’s most distinguished historians probes the lives and times of two unlikely leaders whose partnership dominated the world stage and changed the course of history. Tapping into a wealth of recently declassified documents and tapes, Robert Dallek uncovers fascinating details about Nixon and Kissinger’s tumultuous personal relationship and the extent to which they struggled to outdo each other in the reach for foreign policy achievements. He also brilliantly analyzes their dealings with power brokers at home and abroad, while recognizing how both men were continually plotting to distract the American public’s attention from the growing scandal of Watergate. Authoritative, illuminating and deeply engrossing, Nixon and Kissinger provides a startling new portrait and a new understanding of the immense power and sway these two men held in affecting world history.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert Dallek

Robert Dallek's brilliant two-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson has received an avalanche of praise. Now Dallek has condensed his two-volume masterpiece into what is surely the finest one-volume biography of Johnson available.

Based on years of research in over 450 manuscript collections and oral histories, as well as numerous personal interviews, this biography follows Johnson, the 'human dynamo', from the Texas hill country to the White House. In these pages, Johson emerges as a man of towering intensity and anguished insecurity, of grandiose ambition and grave self-doubt, a man who was brilliant, crude, intimidating, compassionate, overbearing, driven. Gracefully written and delicately balanced, this singular biography reveals both the greatness and the tangled complexities of one of the most extravagant characters ever to step onto the presidential stage.

Biography

Robert Dallek is the author of John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, 1917-1963, Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President and Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. He won the Bancroft Prize in 1980 for his classic Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of American Historians, for which he served as president from 2004 to 2005. He lives in Washington, DC.