Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
A sweeping, magisterial biography of the man generally considered the greatest president of the twentieth century, admired by Democrats and Republicans alike. Traitor to His Class sheds new light on FDR’s formative years, his remarkable willingness to champion the concerns of the poor and disenfranchised, his combination of political genius, firm leadership, and matchless diplomacy in saving democracy in America during the Great Depression and the American cause of freedom in World War II.
Drawing on archival materials, public speeches, personal correspondence, and accounts by family and close associates, acclaimed bestselling historian and biographer H.W. Brands offers a compelling and intimate portrait of Roosevelt’s life and career.
Brands explores the powerful influence of FDR’s dominating mother and the often tense and always unusual partnership between FDR and his wife, Eleanor, and her indispensable contributions to his presidency. Most of all, the book traces in breathtaking detail FDR’s revolutionary efforts with his New Deal legislation to transform the American political economy in order to save it, his forceful—and cagey—leadership before and during World War II, and his lasting legacy in creating the foundations of the postwar international order.
Traitor to His Class brilliantly captures the qualities that have made FDR a beloved figure to millions of Americans.
Amazon Best of the Month, November 2008: With Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, H.W. Brands penetrates the clenched grin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a masterful biography of one of America’s most beloved leaders. Though born into the upper crust of society, FDR dedicated his career to fighting for the common good and the ideals of the American Dream. With the same exhaustive research familiar to fans of his biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Jackson, Brands provides a portrait of an unflinching (and often recalcitrant) figure whose unshakable confidence inspired a beleaguered nation. FDR’s path may have been unorthodox (evidenced by an unprecedented 12 years spent as commander-in-chief) and arguably illegal (the New Deal didn’t always work well with the Constitution), but his shared goal of a stronger America at home and abroad endeared him to voters of varying backgrounds. “We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country’s interest and concern,” proclaimed Roosevelt in 1937. “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”—-Dave Callanan
Barnes and Noble
The weight of an 896-page biography alone serves as an interrogation: Why should I commit myself to undertake such a huge reading project? In the case of H. W. Brands’s magisterial life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, there is no paucity of worthy responses. “Traitor to His Class,” writes Pulitzer Prizewinning historian David Oshinsky, “will quickly emerge as the finest one-volume biography of F.D.R.” Presidential historian Michael Beschloss agrees, enthusing that the book “deserves a wide audience, especially among those younger Americans who need to be told why we all owe so much to F.D.R.” In this time of economic and international turmoil, the president who guided the country through the Depression and World War II has reemerged as a man who is important to the current generation.