“Traitor to His Class” by H.W.Brands

A detailed account of FDR’s life and times. It covers FDR’s personal life (his relationships with his mother, wife and mistress),  his apprenticeship in politics under Woodrow Wilson, whose internationalist idealism inspired FDR to lay down the foundation for the United Nations, his fight against polio, his economic policies emphasizing government regulation and intervention (the New Deal) during the Depression, and  his international leadership in forming an alliance with Churchill and Stalin during WWII.

This is Brands’ most recent book and 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Because he had studied and written biographies of “Woodrow Wilson” and Theodore Roosevelt (“TR: The Last Romantic”) before, he was able to demonstrate how FDR modeled his presidency after the two former presidents and also learned from their mistakes, which made the book a very good read in that regard.


“A man must be what he is. Life must be lived as it is. You cannot live at all if you do not learn to adapt yourself to your life as it happens to be.  All human beings have failings. All human beings have temptations and stresses.  Men and women who live together through long years get to know one another’s failings, but they also come to know what is worthy of respect and admiration in those they live with and in themselves. If at the end one can say, This man used to the limit the powers that God granted him. He was worthy of love and respect and of the sacrifices of many people, made in order that he might achieve what he deemed to be his task, then that life has been lived well, and there are no regrets”.

— Eleanor Roosevelt


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