The Man He Became

The Man He Became

How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
"With a searching new analysis of primary sources, NBCC award winner James Tobin reveals how FDR's fight against polio transformed him from a callow aristocrat into the energetic, determined statesman who would rally the nation in the Great Depression and lead it through World War II. When polio paralyzed Franklin Roosevelt at thirty-nine, people wept to think that the young man of golden promise must live out his days as a helpless invalid. He never again walked on his own. But in just over a decade, hehad regained his strength and seized the presidency. This was the most remarkable comeback in the history of American politics. And, as author James Tobin shows, it was the pivot of Roosevelt's life--the triumphant struggle that tempered and revealed his true character. With enormous ambition, canny resourcefulness, and sheer grit, FDR willed himself back into contention and turned personal disaster to his political advantage. Tobin's dramatic account of Roosevelt's ordeal and victory offers central insights into the forging of one of our greatest presidents"--

Simon and Schuster
Here, from James Tobin, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, is the story of the greatest comeback in American political history, a saga long buried in half-truth, distortion, and myth—Franklin Roosevelt’s ten-year climb from paralysis to the White House.

In 1921, at the age of thirty-nine, Roosevelt was the brightest young star in the Democratic Party. One day he was racing his children around their summer home. Two days later he could not stand up. Hopes of a quick recovery faded fast. “He’s through,” said allies and enemies alike. Even his family and close friends misjudged their man, as they and the nation would learn in time.

With a painstaking reexamination of original documents, James Tobin uncovers the twisted chain of accidents that left FDR paralyzed; he reveals how polio recast Roosevelt’s fateful partnership with his wife, Eleanor; and he shows that FDR’s true victory was not over paralysis but over the ancient stigma attached to the disabled. Tobin also explodes the conventional wisdom of recent years—that FDR deceived the public about his condition. In fact, Roosevelt and his chief aide, Louis Howe, understood that only by displaying himself as a man who had come back from a knockout punch could FDR erase the perception that had followed him from childhood—that he was a pampered, too smooth pretty boy without the strength to lead the nation. As Tobin persuasively argues, FDR became president less in spite of polio than because of polio.

The Man He Became affirms that true character emerges only in crisis and that in the shaping of this great American leader character was all.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781451698671
1451698674
9780743265164
0743265165
9780743265157
0743265157
Branch Call Number: B ROOSEVELT
Characteristics: viii, 370 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm

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claire1953
May 01, 2014

This book is a snapshot of a very difficult period in FDR's life : from the contracting of polio in 1921 to his election as president of the United States. The author's basic premise is that FDR became such a great president because of his struggle with polio and the determination he had to hopefully walk again. The book also disproves the prevalent belief that FDR did everything to hide his disability and that Americans did not know. A very interesting book about this man and a history of polio at the turn of the 20th century.

l
lilypad_1
Apr 15, 2014

very comprehensive info on FDR's polio from the day and place he caught it through misdiagnoses at a critical time and the way he and his family coped with it at a time when polio was thought to be a disease of the poor and unsanitary conditions and the word cripple itself was a negative adjective that he had to overcome. I enjoyed it immensely. KG

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