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Publisher's Summary

National best seller

"A model presidential biography... Now, at last, we have a biography that is right for the man." (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World)

One of today’s premier biographers has written a modern, comprehensive, indeed ultimate book on the epic life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this superlative volume, Jean Edward Smith combines contemporary scholarship and a broad range of primary source material to provide an engrossing narrative of one of America’s greatest presidents. 

This is a portrait painted in broad strokes and fine details. We see how Roosevelt’ s restless energy, fierce intellect, personal magnetism, and ability to project effortless grace permitted him to master countless challenges throughout his life. Smith recounts FDR’s battles with polio and physical disability and how these experiences helped forge the resolve that FDR used to surmount the economic turmoil of the Great Depression and the wartime threat of totalitarianism. Here also is FDR’s private life depicted with unprecedented candor and nuance, with close attention paid to the four women who molded his personality and helped to inform his worldview: his mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, formidable yet ever supportive and tender; his wife, Eleanor, whose counsel and affection were instrumental to FDR’s public and individual achievements; Lucy Mercer, the great romantic love of FDR’s life; and Missy LeHand, FDR’s longtime secretary, companion, and confidante, whose adoration of her boss was practically limitless.  

Smith also tackles head-on and in-depth the numerous failures and miscues of Roosevelt’ s public career, including his disastrous attempt to reconstruct the Judiciary; the shameful internment of Japanese-Americans; and Roosevelt’s occasionally self-defeating Executive overreach. Additionally, Smith offers a sensitive and balanced assessment of Roosevelt’s response to the Holocaust, noting its breakthroughs and shortcomings. 

Summing up Roosevelt’s legacy, Jean Smith declares that FDR, more than any other individual, changed the relationship between the American people and their government. It was Roosevelt who revolutionized the art of campaigning and used the burgeoning mass media to garner public support and allay fears. But more important, Smith gives us the clearest picture yet of how this quintessential Knickerbocker aristocrat, a man who never had to depend on a paycheck, became the common man’s president. The result is a powerful account that adds fresh perspectives and draws profound conclusions about a man whose story is widely known but far less well understood. Written for the general listener and scholars alike, FDR is a stunning biography in every way worthy of its subject.

Listen to more about Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
©2007 Jean Edward Smith (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A magisterial biography...the author's eloquent synthesis of FDR's complex and compelling life is remarkably executed and a joy to read." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about FDR

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

a Man for our time

Enthralling, tremendously informative. Quite relevant to the current state of the country. A true learning experience. The narrator is great. A must for every "thinking' person.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very good, but then it just ended...

I was truly enjoying this biography of one of America's best Presidents when the story ended as soon as FDR died. No talk about the transition to Harry Truman or the end of WWII.

Story content was in-dept and quite informative and compelling. I learned things about FDR that surprised me, made me proud, and also disappointed me.

His first 100 days in office were, by far, the clearest example of leadership, courage, and optimism of any President in history. While Abe Lincoln was, in my opinion, our most well-rounded President, FDR was an energetic and charismatic leader who actually worked with Congress, and turned the country around during the depression.

If only we had a President with his knowledge, leadership skills, and influencial charm today.

Narrator was also superb! Similar to Edward Hermann.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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All to the point

Would you listen to FDR again? Why?

Yes because it doesn't any unwanted extras.

What did you like best about this story?

All facts, no fluff

Which character – as performed by Richard McGonagle – was your favorite?

FDR

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

It is. Well written and read.

Any additional comments?

Nah

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great reader reads a great book

I have just finished listing to FDR and was sad to come to the end of it. I was a little worried that the abridged version would skip over to much but I didn't feel that it did, for me at least, it covered his life in enough detail to keep me interested and I learned a lot about this man who was so pivotal in our history. Many conservatives today feel that FDR changed the country for the worst, and that he was a socialist, but I have long though what would have happened with out his ideas, without the policies of the new deal. Would the country even exist as it does today. that is a question that can not be answered but there is no doubt that his ideas changed this country and the way we look at, or to, our government.
Richard McGonagle is the perfect narrator for this book, when he quotes FDR directly, he sounds like him and he as a soothing that is easy to listen to. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the 20th century.