WYSO

Book Nook: Franklin Roosevelt - a Political Life, by Robert Dallek

Nov 29, 2017

In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt began serving his first term as President of the United States of America. In the election Roosevelt had defeated the incumbent Herbert Hoover. When Hoover was elected in 1928 the U.S. economy was booming. With the stock market collapse on Black Friday in 1929 the nation had plunged into the Great Depression. The dour Hoover had become very unpopular. Roosevelt exuded confidence and he was elected even though most people had no sense of what he might try to do to get the country back on track.

FDR was a New Yorker and a Democrat. After he took office he was able to work with the Democrats who were then in control of the U.S. House and Senate to pass legislation that was intended to right the ship and get Americans working again. It didn't happen overnight. It took years. But in that first year the cocky FDR was able to instill some hope and restore some of the confidence that Americans had been lacking.

In "Franklin Roosevelt - a Political Life" the presidential historian Robert Dallek shows how Roosevelt did it. The man was a masterful politician. Eight years later the world was on the brink of war and it was President Roosevelt who led our country through the darkest days of World War Two. Dallek shows why FDR is now considered to have been one of our greatest presidents.

One is forced to draw the inevitable comparison between FDR and our current president. Both men were New Yorkers. Both men were elected while their political parties were in control of Congress. FDR took office during an economic crisis. Donald Trump entered the White House as the economy was surging. FDR got lots of important legislation passed. Trump is still trying to get legislation through the Republican controlled Congress. Trump still has time during his first year in office to win some legislative victories but he has been stymied so far. Yesterday President Trump sent this tweet out on Twitter:

"Since the first day I took office, all you hear is the phony Democrat excuse for losing the election, Russia, Russia,Russia. Despite this I have the economy booming and have possibly done more than any 10 month President. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Roosevelt was a uniter. Trump appears to be a divider. Roosevelt had his confident grin. Trump scowls. The jury is still out. In the meantime I would suggest that President Trump might want to read this book and discover how FDR accomplished so much during his time in office. Sure, FDR had his failures and made plenty of mistakes. Even so, I think most historians would agree that it was FDR who did "more than any 10 month President." By far.

The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by five local library systems in southwest Ohio: the Greene County Public Library,  Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.