STARRED REVIEW
January 06, 2015

The definitive Roosevelt bio for young readers

By Albert Marrin

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born to privilege and raised for a life in politics. It was both a blessing and a curse that he came to power when the nation faced insurmountable struggles: first the Great Depression and then the events leading to World War II. FDR and the American Crisis looks at those critical times in our nation’s history and how they affect our lives to this day.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt was born to privilege and raised for a life in politics. It was both a blessing and a curse that he came to power when the nation faced insurmountable struggles: first the Great Depression and then the events leading to World War II. FDR and the American Crisis looks at those critical times in our nation’s history and how they affect our lives to this day.

National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin briefly describes Roosevelt’s youth and his steady climb in the political realm, but the book takes off with his victory over Herbert Hoover for the presidency. Hoover’s reputation suffered as the Depression wore down national morale, and Roosevelt’s New Deal helped millions get a new start—though it forever changed the government’s role in the lives of its citizens.

FDR was a central figure in World War II, though his legacy is similarly complicated. The American “war effort” finally turned the economy around, but his leadership involved alliances with mass murderers, lying to the nation and layer upon layer of secret and often questionable deals. He seems to be made of equal parts hero and villain, able to connect with virtually anyone, but overwhelmingly regarded as cold and remote at the same time.

FDR and the American Crisis is eerily timely. As Marrin writes, “[W]e need to know about the thirty-second president because we cannot understand our world today without understanding his role in shaping it.”

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FDR and the American Crisis

FDR and the American Crisis

By Albert Marrin
Knopf
ISBN 9780385753593

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