Top positive review
Traitor to His Class, FDR by H.W. Brands
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2016
This 888 page book is a scholarly and thorough book about the life of FDR. It gives the background of his family, a detailed look at his upbringing and family life though school as a privileged member of the upper class of America. It gives a close look at his social life and love life of his twenties, his marriage to Eleanor and various intimacies throughout his life. It details the control of Sara, his mother over his life financially, and the beginnings of FDR’s ambitions and goals. The author shows how his exuberance and personality slowly but surely emerged.,
His political involvement began to rise at a time when America had changed from an agrarian to a manufacturing country with property in the hands of a few, and communication was with telegraph, telephone, and radio. Immigrants from all over the world bringing their various religious beliefs and hope for a better life, also brought more obvious class differences, often unequal. When FDR was inaugurated in 1933 one quarter of the country was unemployed and hunger and poverty where everywhere, effecting loss of homes and property and leaving a sense of despair. He immediately began to change the economy, taking bold steps and choosing good men to help, creating the New Deal. As the country makes a turn-around, he is faced with rising world problems; and war in Europe slowly but surely effects the country, driving the isolationists to a minority and bringing the US into a world power of its own.
Throughout the book the reader sees him developing great leadership, making bold decisions and communicating to the American people through radio—his Fireside Chats. The author describes and quotes conversations with many leaders; especially interesting are those of the Stalin, FDR and Churchill as they discuss strategy and post war plans for disarmament, boundaries, the United Nations and other necessary reorganizational issues.
The readers follow his life as he contracts polio in his first term and fights back, keeping his presidency from a wheel chair most of the time throughout his third term, unprecedented, and into the beginning fourth and last to his death in 1945.
For the inquiring reader, included in lengthy and thorough appendix are footnotes and references.