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Biography of FDR: The 5 Books All Presidential Historians Should Read About Franklin Roosevelt

By    |   Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 08:00 PM

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a legend in his own time, a statesman responsible for steering the United States through two of the darkest periods in its short history.

In fact, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center claims that FDR may have done more during his tenure as president to change American society than any predecessor other than Abraham Lincoln.

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Elected the 32nd president of the United States, Roosevelt served longer than any other U.S. president. Serving from March 1933 until his death in April 1945, Roosevelt’s tenure is rich with historical lessons, and provides plenty of fodder for writers.

While there is no ultimate biography of FDR, there are five must-read books for all presidential historians.

1: "The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Makes FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great," by Harvey J. Kaye

Kaye sees all of FDR’s major decisions as directed at protecting four primary freedoms: freedom from want and fear, and freedom of speech and religion. Kaye’s own political views peek through, but his book gives historians one more direction from which to examine FDR’s policies.

2: "FDR: The New Deal Years 1933-1937,"
by Kenneth S. Davis

Elected to office three years into the most disastrous economic collapse in history, Roosevelt was faced with the crushing task of finding a way out. Davis’ book shines a bright light on each of Roosevelt’s decisions during those turbulent years, wise and unwise.

3: "FDR’s Deadly Secret," by Dr. Steven Lamazow and Eric Fettman

In one of the most fascinating looks at FDR’s medical condition during his final years in office, Lamazow and Fettman have sifted through medical records and used the testimony of medical experts to conclude that the 32nd president was in much worse physical shape than anyone outside his inner circle knew.

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According to their findings, Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage as reported, but argue that the hemorrhage was a complication of malignant melanoma that had metastasized into brain and abdominal cancer.

If true, it would beg the question of who was running the administration during Roosevelt’s final time in office.

4: "FDR," by Jean Edward Smith

One of the most comprehensive books covering FDR highlights a broad range of primary sources that will take readers back to the 1940s White House. Smith, a thorough researcher and writer, leaves no stone unturned.

5: "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II," by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Goodwin’s intimate look inside the Roosevelt White House is a must-read for historians looking for clues as to what made FDR and his cabinet tick. Not only do readers meet the odd assortment of characters who lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. at any given time, but they also see world events as they unfolded, through the eyes of the man most responsible for dealing with them.

Vote Here: Which US President Would Be Considered the Greatest in History?

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a legend in his own time, a statesman responsible for steering the United States through two of the darkest periods in its short history. While there is no ultimate biography of FDR, there are five must-read books for all presidential historians.
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2015-00-06
Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 08:00 PM
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