The Roosevelts: An American Saga by Peter Collier

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The Roosevelts is a brilliant and controversial account of twentieth-century American political culture as seen through the lens of its preeminent political dynasty. Peter Collier shows how Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, along with their descendants, scrambled to define the direction that American politics would take. The Oyster Bay clan, influenced by the flamboyant Teddy, was extroverted, eccentric, tradition-bound, and family-oriented. They represented an age of American innocence that would be replaced by Franklin’s Hyde Park Roosevelts, who were aloof and cold yet individualistic and progressive.

Drawing on extensive interviews and brimming with trenchant anecdotes, this historical portrait casts new light on the pivotal events and personalities that shaped the Roosevelt legacy — from Eleanor’s often brutal relationship with her children and Theodore Jr.’s undoing in the 1924 New York gubernatorial race, to the heroism of Teddy’s sons during both World Wars and FDR’s loveless marriage.

The Roosevelts is history at its most penetrating, a crucial work that illuminates the foundations of contemporary, American politics.

A good book, as a primer, but I felt it could have delved deeper in to their lives.

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Filed under Books, Education, History, Politics, Review

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