We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Defining Moment Audiobook
The Defining Moment
Written by: 
Jonathan Alter
Narrated by: 
Grover Gardner
The Defining Moment Audiobook

The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope

Regular Price:$27.96
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

In this dramatic and fascinating account, Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter shows how Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his first 100 days in office to lift the country from the despair and paralysis of the Great Depression and transform the American presidency.

Instead of becoming the dictator so many wanted in those first days, FDR rescued banks, put men to work immediately, and laid the groundwork for his most ambitious achievements, including what eventually became the Social Security Administration. Alter explains how FDR's background and experiences uniquely qualified him to pull off an astonishing conjuring act that saved both democracy and capitalism.

Jonathan Alter, a Newsweek Senior Editor, has written the widely acclaimed "Between the Lines" column since 1991, examining politics, media, and society at large. For the last decade, he has also worked as an analyst and contributing correspondent for NBC Broadcasting, including Today, NBC Nightly News, and MSNBC.

Grover Gardner is one of the spoken word industry's most esteemed and versatile performers. He has recorded hundreds of books and has garnered an Audie Award, 18 Earphones Awards, and was deemed to have one of the "Best Voices of the Century" by AudioFile magazine. He was also named Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly.

©2006 Jonathan Alter, recorded by arrangement with Simon & Schuster, Inc.; (P)2006 The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.

What the Critics Say

"A most readable book....A reflection on the way that Roosevelt reinvented the presidency....Alter's account has a refreshing buoyancy, not unlike its protagonist." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Alter goes on to document FDR's early programs, pronouncements, and maneuvers with succinct accuracy." (Publishers Weekly)
"A book like this, revealing the power of presidential speeches, should be read, in FDR's repetition for emphasis, 'again and again and again'." (William Safire)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (382 )
5 star
 (136)
4 star
 (167)
3 star
 (62)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (8)
Overall
4.2 (129 )
5 star
 (60)
4 star
 (41)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.3 (126 )
5 star
 (61)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    RayG Ogdensburg, NY, US 08-27-13
    RayG Ogdensburg, NY, US 08-27-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great albeit flawed leader.Well worth the listen"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The tone and cadence of the narrator were off IMO. But its still worth listening to if you can get over that.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 03-24-12
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 03-24-12 Member Since 2015

    54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    463
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    326
    110
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    43
    18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "splendid..just splendid!"

    While I read this some time ago now, I still remember the exuberance I felt during and after reading this highly insightful and truly enjoyable book. Superbly written, perfectly narrated and highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 12-18-11
    David 12-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    106
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    300
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A shallow and insecure president..."

    This is not a faltering portrayal of FDR. It reveals a rather shallow and insecure person who somehow became president despite all of his personal, moral, and physical weaknesses. It is hard to believe that someone lacking so much could have attained so much, but then again look at our current and most recent presidents. There are quite a few revelations that I never heard in history class... I guess this book also reveals the difference between the media of back then versus today. I don't think someone with so many secret flaws could get away with becoming president today, i.e. Herman Cane, John Edwards, Gary Heart.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy 01-30-09
    Andy 01-30-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    211
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "FDR did not cause the Depression"

    The key point Alter seems to be making is that FDR deserves credit for preserving democracy given that things were so awful back then that newspapers, businessmen, etc. were ready to let FDR be a fascist dictator and that the people were so desperate they would have accepted that. I watched the movie "Gabriel over the White House" mentioned in the book and I think Alter is making a fair assessment of this huge issue.
    The personal bio of FDR, especially how his paralysis affected him was much more interesting than I anticipated.
    The key debate now is over the claim from the reactionaries that FDR caused or prolonged or worsened the Depression. From this book, it is absolutely clear that FDR did not cause the Depression because it was fully under way while Hoover was in office. One can't really tell from this book if he worsened it because the book focuses on the beginning of FDR's first term. It seems undeniable though that FDR gave the country a huge psychological boost right away with his speeches and all his programs, and that's something. Again, Alter's point is that the choice wasn't just between Depression and immediate recovery. Revolution, complete chaos, communism, dictatorship and other disasters were all possible outcomes at the time and that context needs to be remembered.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Guthrie, OK, USA 01-05-09
    Denise Guthrie, OK, USA 01-05-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A little surprising"

    Although I am enjoying this book I believe the title and summary to be somewhat misleading. I expected the book to focus more on the first hundred day of FDRs admnistration and was looking forward to learning more about what he did during his first 100 days in office to begin turning the country around...hoping for interesting insights and paralles into what Obama may face. Instead the author discusses FDRs career progression at length. It is only at the end of part one that FDR is elected. That said I am looking forward to listening to part two.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    w Adams Austin, TX, United States 09-06-11
    w Adams Austin, TX, United States 09-06-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"

    Interesting study of FDR's political development and how it manifested in the White House. Roosevelt was the right man for the job.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Saint Louis, MO, United States 07-04-09
    Ellen Saint Louis, MO, United States 07-04-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    418
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great book, another annoying narrator"

    I wish Jonathan Alter had narrated his own book. This narrator's voice often makes an insight sound like a snide remark. I had to think of Alter reading this in his own voice, which does come through in the writing usually despite the narrator, in order to guess at the real meaning of a sentence. It seems the narrator is listening to his own voice and concerned more with vocal intonation than with content. With Alter's voice I'd have given it 5 stars.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne N Merrick, NY, USA 05-22-09
    Jeanne N Merrick, NY, USA 05-22-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    Overall
    "Part 1 is sufficient"

    Part 1 was very informative and good. Part 2 was to long and unnecessary

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.