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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom Hardcover – 17 Nov 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1328 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; UNKNOWN edition (17 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297646311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297646310
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 6.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 487,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Conrad Black makes a thorough and compelling case for his view that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the most important person of the 20th Century. Whether overcoming painful physical barriers or leading the country through the Great Depression and World War II, FDR demonstrated the heroic qualities that define the "Greatest Generation" - faith, optimism, strength and vision." (FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON )

"Thoughtful and readable." (HENRY KISSINGER )

"A monument to industry and research, it comprehensively covers the waterfront and it brings in the kind of generous and admiring verdict that might not necessarily have been expected from so partisan a press proprietor." (ANTHONY HOWARD SUNDAY TIMES )

"One of the funniest and cleverest essays in the analysis of American politics ever written, worthy to rank beside the work of Theodore H White or AJ Liebling." (JOHN KEEGAN DAILY TELEGRAPH )

"Monumental and masterful biography... This is a brilliant, scholarly, fluent and stimulating read, rich in detail and anecdote, full of robust opinions, enlivened by dry humour and composed with restraint if not economy... a prodigious contribution to an understanding of the pivotal events of America's 20th century." (RAYMOND SEITZ THE TIMES )

"Black's prose bowls the reader effortlessly along: he seamlessly weaves together the political and personal... a truly splendid achievement." (ANDREW ROBERTS DAILY TELEGRAPH reprinted in the IRISH INDEPENDENT )

"Formidable, well-organised and punchy volume... full, illuminating and fascinating to read.... People will argue about FDR till the end of time. Black has put together a powerful case for the defence which belongs on the shelves of all those who take history seriously." (PAUL JOHNSON SUNDAY TELEGRAP[H )

"A formidable thing.... Black obviously adores Roosevelt." (JAY PARINI GUARDIAN )

"Conrad Black researches and writes with unflagging energy... he marshals a decent narrative... and puts his judgement firmly on the line. This is proper history, tended with proper academic care." (PETER PRESTON THE OBSERVER )

"Conrad Black's life of Franklin Roosevelt is a great achievement and all the more welcome for being more than a little surprising." "A fine achievement for any historian, let alone one who has other calls on his time." (THE ECONOMIST )

"Black is good on Roosevelt the man and on his personal life." (GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT SPECTATOR )

"Emerges as a distinguished historian with a magnificently researched study of Franklin D Roosevelt.... Lord Crossharbour has done us all a service with this masterly story about a great man." (GEOFFREY GOODMAN TRIBUNE )

"Black should be read by anyone interested in America, particularly her contemporary critics, every politician, especially radicals and by politico-theologians... Undergraduates will find the final chapter a marvellous summary for essays without having to read the book. There cannot be higher praise for a wonderful read." (THE HERALD )

"One of the best one-volume biographies of Roosevelt yet.. a worthy and important addition to the vast literature on the most important modern American leader." (NEW YORK TIMES )

"A deft writer who applies to one of the most influential men of the 20th century what he has learned from a career of sizing up people and their ambitions... At 1,280 pages, it's a companion for the long haul -- and an engrossing one, thanks to the storytelling and the pungency of its judgments. Lord Black draws on FDR's papers and archives, various memoirs and the work of Roosevelt scholars ranging from Geoffrey Ward and Kenneth Davis to Doris Kearns Goodwin and Arthur Schlesinger." (WALL STREET JOURNAL )

"Sweeping and persuasive... not only the best one-volume life of the 32nd president but the best at any length, bound to be widely read and discussed." (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY )

"A staggering work of biography and social history, documenting in exquisite detail... sound, sturdy, masterfully done." (KIRKUS )

" A fascintating study of both the large and small issues in this great man's long political career... Grandparents should buy this book to remind themselves of the dangers they faced in their youth: and then they should give a copy to their grandchildren who will learn more about the 20th century than they are likely to learn in school or from Hollywood" (Claus von Bulow CATHOLIC HERALD )

"It's an enthralling read. Roosevelt was a colossal figure and it has taken another massive personality to give him the biography he deserves." (IRISH TIMES )

Book Description

Magisterial biography of the 'greatest American president of the 20th century'

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Chris J. Newman on 26 July 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Conrad Black concludes his 1130 page text setting out seven reasons to support his claim that F.D. Roosevelt was the most important man of the 20th century. His case is convincing and I would neither care nor dare to put forward another name to compete for that position.
Roosevelt was an extraordinary man and Black's biography is an extraordinarily profound work that does full justice to his subject. It is not possible to read this book without being overwhelmed by its depth and breadth. In terms of depth, Black's characterisation of his subject leaves the reader with a feeling of having personally known him or at least of having experienced his years of presidency. In its breadth it provides a detailed analysis of the political and strategic influences that evolved during Roosevelt's 12-year presidency and the astonishing political and strategic influences Roosevelt himself generated. Even Black's characterisations of the (dozens of) other players in the drama - not least Churchill, Stalin, and De Gaulle - are brilliant and incisive. No other book that I have ever read has ever set out so clearly and concisely either the background to WW2 (such as FDR's deliberate provocation of the Japanese attack on the USA) or the sequence of the events that defined the war. Surprisingly (since the book doesn't dwell on Hitler's or Nazi Germany's venality), it presents a clearer picture of their actions and motivations than many other books that are dedicated to the subject.
It would be presumptuous of me to attempt to summarize Black's work or the life described therein.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jan Wammen on 11 July 2004
Format: Hardcover
Conrad Black's book is an excellent biography, which rank among the best political biographies ever such as Duff Coopers wonderful book "Talleyrand" and Geoffrey Best great and commendable short book "Churchill. A Study in Greatness". Black's book is on the contrary very long, but it is highly accessible and he all along gives you great syntheses of his thinking such as "Roosevelt's strategic and political vision was perceptive; Stalin's was exclusively avaricious; Churchill's was astute but nostalgic" (p. 871). It is hard not to agree with Churchill (and Black) that Roosevelt was "the greatest champion of freedom who has ever brought help from the New World to the Old". But I can't agree with Black's wholehearted support of the American strategic view of the European theatre of operations. Michael Howard's conclusion - as stated by John Strawson in his new book "If by Chance" - "that it still needs to be shown that there was a better Allied Grand Strategy than that actually employed stands unchallenged today". The Mediterranean focus in 1943 was an absolute prerequisite for an invasion of France in 1944. Eisenhower should also have adhered to his statement on 15 September 1944. "There is no doubt whatsoever, in my mind, that we should concentrate on a rapid thrust to Berlin". It would have improved the allied bargaining position much more than anything else which Black mention about Roosevelt's idea's had he not died. At least it would have helped the ordinary woman in Berlin. A few spelling mistakes should be corrected in a new edition. Petsamo was not ceded by Finland to USSR in 1940 but in 1947. Rumania went into the First World War in 1916 and not 1915, and the place of Hitler's headquarters was close to Rastenburg and not Rastenberg.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 April 2004
Format: Hardcover
In Time Magazine's "The Time 100 - the Most Important People of theCentury," Franklin Delano Roosevelt is ranked the runner-up to AlbertEinstein. Roosevelt is a giant of world history.
To understand this, one must look at the world when he took office (theGreat Depression and the rise of fanatic totalitarianism leading to WorldWar II) and then the world after (a great period of economic stability,prosperity and no WW III). He influenced the modern world more than almostanyone else. The things we take for granted today were not necessarily socertain before he came to power.
Our world is not a world of Hitler's Third Reich and fascism. It is not aworld of Stalin and communism. It is not a world of colonial empires. Itis not a world of radical laissez-faire capitalism with its extremeinstability and injustices. It is more a world of Roosevelt's pragmaticideas for a more stable and fair economy, and international security andstability.
It is unfortunate that some irrational people from the extreme-right donot try to understand Roosevelt and instead attack FDR untruthfully - lies- for radical partisan reasons. They take his presidency out of context ofthe problems he was dealing with - the withering of capitalism anddemocracy around the world. The truth is that Roosevelt was a great worldleader, and it is refreshing that several notable conservatives havepraised this fine book.
On the back cover of the book are these comments by conservativeintellectuals I generally admire:
George F. Will: "Conrad Black skillfully assembles powerful arguments tosupport strong and sometimes surprising judgements. This spirited defenseof Roosevelt as a savior of America's enterprise system, and geopoliticalrealist, is a delight to read.
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