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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom [Paperback]

Conrad Black
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Feb 2005
Franklin Delano Roosevelt stands astride American history like a colossus. Having pulled the nation out of the Great Depression and led it to victory in the Second World War, in his four terms as president Roosevelt transformed an inward-looking country into the greatest superpower the world had ever known. Few biographies have been able to capture the full scope, the charisma, and the complexities of the man in full-until Conrad Black's Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this extraordinary and eminently readable assessment, Black-a staunch conservative-takes to task the Roosevelt naysayers, lays bare the Yalta myth, and makes a surprising and compelling case that that FDR was the most influential and important person of the twentieth century. Hailed by critics from all sides of the political spectrum as "masterful," "epic", and the "best biography of Roosevelt yet," Franklin Delano Roosevelt is bar-none the definitive biography of the 32nd president. It is an essential resource for anyone who wishes to understand not only Roosevelt-but the very history of the twentieth century, both in America and throughout the world.


Product details

  • Paperback: 1328 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs,U.S.; export ed edition (23 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586482823
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586482824
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 15.6 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 591,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Deserves to become the standard one-volume life of FDR". The Economist "One of the best one-volume biographies of Roosevelt yet". The New York Times "A sweeping, occasionally sprawling biography...and an engrossing one, thanks to the storytelling and pungency of its judgments". Wall Street Journal"

Book Description

Magisterial biography of the 'greatest American president of the 20th century' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing book about an astonishing man 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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Champion of Freedom 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Study of a Great Man in Tough Times: FDR 22 April 2004
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough book
I would highly recommend this book.

It is a long read but gives the reader a real feel for global politics both in the immediate run up to the second world war and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour-de-force
FDRCF, is a wonderful read; at times inspiring in the eloquence of Roosevelt’s overcoming the many problems that beset him in life, but also unafraid in portraying his human... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robert Craven
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Biography of One of the most Influential Presidents
FDR- Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black is a very good biography of the one and only four-term President of the United States. Read more
Published 12 months ago by HBH
4.0 out of 5 stars A Heavy Weight in Every Respect
This is a big book in every respect, and gives a thorough and balanced assessment of the man who was, arguably, the greatest of the American Presidents. Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2011 by A. Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
This book was a truly brilliant account of one of the most important men of the twentieth century. At over one thousand pages, the level of detail was extraordinary, and I have the... Read more
Published on 25 April 2011 by Jon 'ET' A
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the finest
There are times when less really is more. My only comment is that this is an absolutely outstanding read - I challenge anyone to read this and not feel the same!!.
Published on 30 Oct 2010 by P. Buss
5.0 out of 5 stars What you can learn from a Great Leader
No leader has had more positive influence in the 20th century than Franklin D Roosevelt.
This book of 1280 pages shows you what he did, why he did what he did, and why it... Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2009 by laurens van den muyzenberg
3.0 out of 5 stars Major flaw.
This is an excellent book in many respects, but contains a major flaw that destroys the entire argument.

Conrad Black is unclear why FDR wanted war with Hitler. Read more
Published on 27 Dec 2006 by qpippin
5.0 out of 5 stars Roosevelt: Champion of freedom
This is a long awaited biography on one of the great statesmen of the last century. As a History teacher at secondary level, I find the chapters on the second world war really... Read more
Published on 8 Dec 2003 by Glen M Darlow
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