The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

Ken Burns

Language: English

Pages: 528

ISBN: 0307700232

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

New York Times Bestseller 

A vivid and personal portrait of America’s greatest political family and its enormous impact on our nation, which expands on the hugely acclaimed seven-part PBS documentary series, bringing readers even deeper into these extraordinary leaders’ lives
With 796 photographs, some never before seen
The authors of the acclaimed and best-selling The Civil War, Jazz, The War, and Baseball present an intimate history of three extraordinary individuals from the same extraordinary family—Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Geoffrey C. Ward, distilling more than thirty years of thinking and writing about the Roosevelts, and the acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns help us understand for the first time that, despite the fierce partisanship of their eras, the Roosevelts were far more united than divided.

All the history the Roosevelts made is here, but this is primarily an intimate account, the story of three people who overcame obstacles that would have undone less forceful personalities.

Theodore Roosevelt would push past childhood frailty, outpace depression, survive terrible grief—and transform the office of the presidency.

Eleanor Roosevelt, orphaned and alone as a child, would endure her husband’s betrayal, battle her own self-doubts, and remake herself into the most consequential first lady in American history—and the most admired woman on earth.

And Franklin Roosevelt, born to privilege and so pampered that most of his youthful contemporaries dismissed him as a charming lightweight, would summon the strength to lead the nation through the two greatest crises since the Civil War, though he could not take a single step unaided.

The three were towering personalities, but The Roosevelts shows that they were also flawed human beings who confronted in their personal lives issues familiar to all of us: anger and the need for forgiveness, courage and cowardice, confidence and self-doubt, loyalty to family and the need to be true to oneself. This is the story of the Roosevelts—no other American family ever touched so many lives.

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against a Japanese invasion force that would never come Credit 6.94 The simple marker on Kermit’s grave at Fort Richardson Credit 6.95 An American Mother In the summer of 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt undertook a five-week 25,000-mile trip to the South Pacific on behalf of the Red Cross. She had no illusions about how it would be received by her husband’s enemies at home. “This trip will be attacked as a political gesture,” she told a friend, “and I am so uncertain whether or not I am doing the

safari reminded onlookers of a military campaign. A vast American flag flew over the ex-president’s tent. Skilled white hunters served as guides. Three naturalists from the Smithsonian Institution saw to the steadily growing collection of specimens. Two hundred and six porters carried supplies, including cans of California peaches and Boston baked beans, ninety pounds of jam, four tons of salt to cure animal skins, and sixty miniature volumes, ranging from Alice in Wonderland to The

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was just twenty years old, still too young to run for office but already being called the “Crown Prince” in the newspapers; his three younger brothers might choose to run someday as well. All of them were sure to run as Republicans. If Franklin were to have a chance, it would be best to run as a Democrat—the party in which his late father had always felt most at home. And so when Judge John E. Mack, the Democratic Dutchess County district attorney, dropped by the Wall

had drowned, including 128 American citizens. Did Roosevelt have a comment? Two German Americans sat on the jury that would decide Roosevelt’s fate. But he could not keep from speaking out. “This represents not merely piracy,” he told the reporter, “but piracy on a vaster scale of murder than the old-time pirates ever practiced.… It seems inconceivable that we can refrain from taking action in this matter, for we owe it not only to humanity but to our own national self-respect.” It took the

clause—seemed to suggest that other New Deal programs might also be swept away. Roosevelt was stunned at first, and denounced the Court for relegating the country to “the horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce.” But in early June, just as congressmen were preparing to leave town for the summer, Roosevelt seized back the initiative, calling upon them to enact five major pieces of legislation by autumn. In part to steal a little of what FDR called “Huey’s thunder,” he proposed new

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