Franklin D. Roosevelt

A Political Life

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.

  • Penguin
  • Published 7th November 2017
  • 704 Pages
  • £30.00