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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping, magisterial biography of the man generally considered the greatest president of the 20th century, admired by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Traitor to His Class sheds new light on FDR's formative years; his remarkable willingness to champion the concerns of the poor and disenfranchised; and his combination of political genius, firm leadership, and matchless diplomacy in saving democracy in America during the Great Depression and the American cause of freedom in World War II.

Drawing on archival materials, public speeches, personal correspondence, and accounts by family and close associates, acclaimed best-selling historian and biographer H. W. Brands offers a compelling and intimate portrait of Roosevelt's life and career.

Brands explores the powerful influence of FDR's dominating mother and the often tense and always unusual partnership between FDR and his wife, Eleanor, and her indispensable contributions to his presidency.

Most of all, the book traces in breathtaking detail FDR's revolutionary efforts with his New Deal legislation to transform the American political economy in order to save it, his forceful and cagey leadership before and during World War II, and his lasting legacy in creating the foundations of the postwar international order.

Traitor to His Class brilliantly captures the qualities that have made FDR a beloved figure to millions of Americans.

©2008 H. W. Brands (P)2008 Books on Tape

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth every minute.

I felt as if I was listening to FDR's own voice through the author's pen and the narrator's performance. The scenes were painted with such two tail and the narrator made them come alive. It was a treat to learn so much more about FDR then I ever could have imagined. I recommend the unabridged version - it may seem daunting to listen to, but I found myself hanging on every word.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Rare Combination,,, Fact AND Feeling!

The study of history is amazing when truth of BOTH a feeling and a factual nature jumps off the pages.

Agree or not with a given policy of FDR, you will know his feeling as well as his thinking. Not since Carl Sandburg or Bruce Catton history books have I experienced both truths in any one book!

Masterful!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Story of a Great President

This is a very interesting read about one of the most turbulent times in American history and of the role of FDR in leading the country out of the Great Depression and through the Second World War. FDR was a complex and highly intelligent President who did a great job leading the nation. His role in helping the British and Russia with Lend Lease early in the war and setting production levels for arms were a key to victory. His belief in self determination for other countries and non belief in colonialism made him an American president highly regarded world wide. He tried to make the government a force for good. He certainly rates on a par with Washington and Lincoln as one of our greatest presidents. His engaging personality, intelligence, and political savvy were key to his success. Brand did a great job portraying his strong points and personal flaws.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Heavy Dose of History

If you could sum up Traitor to His Class in three words, what would they be?

Not Brands' best.

What other book might you compare Traitor to His Class to and why?

Any of many history books. This is not my favorite HW Brands biography; I read his works on Andrew Jackson and Ben Franklin and found both much more compelling. This could be my affinity for older America, or the difference between reading and listening to a heavily detailed piece of history, but nevertheless I was never as excited for the next page of FDR as I was for the other two. It seems to me more of the predjudices and judgements of the modern man figure into Brands' analysis of the New Deal president, and figure in more favorably than they might another hundred years down the line.

Have you listened to any of Mark Deakins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but this was good narration.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I'd say this should be free to anyone that could.

Any additional comments?

Listening to mammoth recordings of detailed history is not for the faint if heart, or ear. How much did I retain?

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great book about the BEST U.S. President

This was a phenomenal listen from the beginning. It made me love Roosevelt even more.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too much time spent describing economics

An econ class in high school is the extent of my knowledge of the subject. I zoned out through most of the complicated descriptions and explanations. I know that the Great Depression and the New Deal had all to do with the banks, the private sector, government and so on and so forth, but I wanted a biography, not Economics 401. I wish the book discussed Eleanor a little more. I know this is FDR's biography, but she was such a big part of his life and was often involved in policy matters and was someone he discussed major issues with.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not what it seems to be

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I expected an objective book that reviewed the flaws as well as the successes, The ramifications of his actions, good and bad. Instead this is the glorification of a man with very human traits that were not as selfless as is portrayed,

What do you think your next listen will be?

Nothing from this author

What didn’t you like about Mark Deakins’s performance?

It was good but monotone. This may have been the content and length.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

Don't do it

6 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing effort by a great writer.

What would have made Traitor to His Class better?

Pure unadulterated hagiography: no critiques just a total defense of FDR's policies, decisions, and political goals. I am sure this book will be added to the Democratic Party's inspired canon of books. I have read two other H. W. Brands' books (Grant and America Colossus) and I have heard numerous lectures from Brands in iTunesU. *A Traitor to His Class* lacks the objectivity and story-telling passion of Brands' other books and lectures. Suggest reading Paul Johnson's *A History of the American People* for a through-going conservative evaluation of the FDR presidency.

Would you recommend Traitor to His Class to your friends? Why or why not?

No, I felt that all objectivity was left on the editor's floor.

Which scene was your favorite?

The description of Roosevelt's polio struggles and his psychological struggles dealing with his disabilities.

3 of 15 people found this review helpful