About a year ago, or possibly more, I caught a biography of FDR on the History Channel, which ended before he was elected to the presidency. Having read the biography of his older namesake, Teddy Roosevelt before, I was interested in his life.
There was a large selection of books on the shelf. Some were three inches thick. I opted for Maney’s book, only about 200 pages plus references, a bibliography and appendices, which I thought I’d read within a few days or a couple of weeks.
Wrong. It sat on my nightstand as the current book being read for so long, it became a decorative item there, a fixture, so much that now that I get to remove it, the bedroom will not look right with a book of a different color there. I would read a couple of pages before going to sleep, and not even that consistently, since there were many other books that needed to be read in the interim.
Not that it was boring. In many respects it was a fascinating book about a fascinating life. It’s just not what I am excited about taking on airplane trips with me and read in a hurry.
FDR was a decisive character in our country’s history. He was widely emulated, sometimes not entirely successfully, by Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Clinton and even Reagan. Now in the Obama years, the pundits are drawing comparisons between Roosevelt and Obama.
Roosevelt was responsible for many government programs and for larger government overall by implementing what he coined the New Deal. Concepts and programs like Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wage, public housing, bank deposit insurance, farm subsidies, regulation of the stock market and the GI Bill of Rights were introduced by Roosevelt and became fixtures in the political and social fabric of our nation. The Security and Exchange Commission was set up in 1934 after the Great Depression to regulate the stock exchange. Deeply reviled by Wall Street when introduced, it has become an icon of our economy. Ironically, when the Reagan...