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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the longest serving president in US history, reshaping the country during the crises of the Great Depression and World War II. James MacGregor Burns’s magisterial two-volume biography tells the complete life story of the fascinating political figure who instituted the New Deal.
Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox (1882–1940): Before his ascension to the presidency, FDR laid the groundwork for his unprecedented run with decades of canny political maneuvering and steady consolidation of power. Hailed by the New York Times as “a sensitive, shrewd, and challenging book” and by Newsweek as “a case study unmatched in American political writings,” The Lion and the Fox details Roosevelt’s youth and education, his rise to national prominence, all the way through his first two terms as president.
Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (1940–1945): The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning history of FDR’s final years examines the president’s skillful wartime leadership as well as his vision for postwar peace. Acclaimed by William Shirer as “the definitive book on Roosevelt in the war years,” and by bestselling author Barbara Tuchman as “engrossing, informative, endlessly readable,” The Soldier of Freedom is a moving profile of a leader gifted with rare political talent in an era of extraordinary challenges.
Historian and political scientist James MacGregor Burns has spent much of his career documenting the use and misuse of power by leaders throughout history. In this groundbreaking study, Burns examines the qualities that make certain leaders—in America and elsewhere—succeed as transformative figures. Through insightful anecdotes and historical analysis, Burns scrutinizes the charisma, vision, and persuasive power of individuals able to imbue followers with a common sense of purpose, from the founding fathers to FDR, Gandhi to Napoleon. Since its original publication in 1970, Leadership has set the standard for scholarship in the field.
In Transforming Leadership, James MacGregor Burns illuminates the evolution of leadership structures—from the chieftains of tribal African societies, through Europe’s absolute monarchies, to the blossoming of the Enlightenment’s ideals of liberty and happiness during the American Revolution.
Along the way, he looks at key breakthroughs in leadership and the towering leaders who attempted to transform their worlds—Elizabeth I, Washington, Jefferson, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gorbachev, and others. Culminating in a bold and innovative plan to address the greatest global leadership challenge of the twenty-first century, the long-intractable problem of global poverty, Transforming Leadership will spark lively discussion in classrooms and boardrooms throughout the country.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the longest serving president in United States history, reshaping the country during the crises of the Great Depression and World War II. But before his ascension to the presidency, FDR laid the groundwork for his unprecedented run with decades of canny political maneuvering and steady consolidation of power.
In this remarkable New York Times–bestselling biography, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian James MacGregor Burns traces FDR’s rise and the peculiar blend of strength and cunning that made him such a uniquely transformative figure. Weaving together lively narrative and impressive scholarship, Burns reconstructs his youth and education at Groton and Harvard, his relationships with his cousins Theodore and Eleanor, his immersion in New York State politics, and his rise to national prominence, all the way through his first two terms as president, which saw the historic New Deal take hold and the drumbeats of World War II begin.
Originally published in 1956, The Lion and the Fox was among the first studies of Roosevelt—and it remains a landmark record of his ambitions, talents, and flaws. Hailed by the New York Times as “a sensitive, shrewd, and challenging book” and by Newsweek as “a case study unmatched in American political writings,” Burns’s stunning achievement is the life story of a fascinating political figure.
The Three Roosevelts is the extraordinary political biography of the intertwining lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who emerged from the closed society of New York’s Knickerbocker elite to become the most prominent American political family of the twentieth century.
As Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning author James MacGregor Burns and acclaimed historian Susan Dunn follow the evolution of the Roosevelt political philosophy, they illuminate how Theodore’s example of dynamic leadership would later inspire the careers of his distant cousin Franklin and his niece Eleanor, who together forged a progressive political legacy that reverberated throughout the world. Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt led America through some of the most turbulent times in its history. The Three Roosevelts takes readers on an exhilarating voyage through these tumultuous decades of our nation’s past, and these momentous events are seen through the Roosevelts’ eyes, their actions, and their passions. Insightful and authoritative, this is a fascinating portrait of three of America’s greatest leaders, whose legacy is as controversial today as their vigorous brand of forward-looking politics was in their own lifetimes.
“A remarkable example of narrative and biographical history at its best.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A detailed study . . . Written with impeccable scholarship.” —Houston Chronicle
“Show[s] how TR set FDR off on reform, and how Eleanor pushed Franklin, and how FDR used Eleanor as his legs . . . and as his conscience.” —The Boston Globe
In The Workshop of Democracy, Burns explores more than a half-century of dramatic growth and transformation of the American landscape, through the addition of dozens of new states, the shattering tragedy of the First World War, the explosion of industry, and, in the end, the emergence of the United States as a new global power.
And in The Crosswinds of Freedom, Burns offers an articulate and incisive examination of the US during its rise to become the world’s sole superpower—through the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, and the rapid pace of technological change that gave rise to the “American Century.”
The years between 1787 and 1863 witnessed the development of the American Nation—its society, politics, customs, culture, and, most important, the development of liberty. Burns explores the key events in the republic’s early decades, as well as the roles of heroes from Washington to Lincoln and of lesser-known figures. Captivating and insightful, Burns’s history combines the color and texture of early American life with meticulous scholarship. Focusing on the tensions leading up to the Civil War, Burns brilliantly shows how Americans became divided over the meaning of Liberty. Vineyard of Liberty is a sweeping and engrossing narrative of America’s formative years.
"With this profound and magnificent book, drawing on his deep reservoir of thought and expertise in the humanities, James MacGregor Burns takes us into the fire's center. As a 21st-century philosopher, he brings to vivid life the incandescent personalities and ideas that embody the best in Western civilization and shows us how understanding them is essential for anyone who would seek to decipher the complex problems and potentialities of the world we will live in tomorrow." --Michael Beschloss, New York Times bestselling author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989
"James MacGregor Burns is a national treasure, and Fire and Light is the elegiac capstone to a career devoted to understanding the seminal ideas that made America - for better and for worse - what it is." --Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author Revolutionary Summer
Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling historian James MacGregor Burns explores the most daring and transformational intellectual movement in history, the European and American Enlightenment
In this engaging, provocative history, James MacGregor Burns brilliantly illuminates the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, when audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, overturning governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments. Fire and Light brings to vivid life the galaxy of revolutionary leaders of thought and action who, armed with a new sense of human possibility, driven by a hunger for change, created the modern world. Burns discovers the origins of a distinctive American Enlightenment in men like the Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality. It was these thinker-activists who framed the United States as a grand and continuing experiment in Enlightenment principles.
Today the same questions Enlightenment thinkers grappled with have taken on new urgency around the world: in the turmoil of the Arab Spring, in the former Soviet Union, and China, as well as in the United States itself. What should a nation be? What should citizens expect from their government? Who should lead and how can leadership be made both effective and accountable? What is happiness, and what can the state contribute to it? Burns's exploration of the ideals and arguments that formed the bedrock of our modern world shines a new light on these ever-important questions.
The Crosswinds of Freedom is an articulate and incisive examination of the United States during its rise to become the world’s sole superpower. Here is a young democracy transformed by the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, the rapid pace of technological change, and the distinct visions of nine presidents. Spanning fifty-six years and touching on many corners of the nation’s complex cultural tapestry, Burns’s work is a remarkable look at the forces that gave rise to the “American Century.”
A premier leadership scholar and an eighteenth-century expert define the special contributions and qualifications of our first president
Revolutionary hero, founding president, and first citizen of the young republic, George Washington was the most illustrious public man of his time, a man whose image today is the result of the careful grooming of his public persona to include the themes of character, self-sacrifice, and destiny.
As Washington sought to interpret the Constitution's assignment of powers to the executive branch and to establish precedent for future leaders, he relied on his key advisers and looked to form consensus as the guiding principle of government. His is a legacy of a successful experiment in collective leadership, great initiatives in establishing a strong executive branch, and the formulation of innovative and lasting economic and foreign policies. James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn also trace the arc of Washington's increasing dissatisfaction with public life and the seeds of dissent and political parties that, ironically, grew from his insistence on consensus. In this compelling and balanced biography, Burns and Dunn give us a rich portrait of the man behind the carefully crafted mythology.