Riccards and Flagg examine in detail the development of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from a young politician in Albany to assistant secretary of the Navy to governor of the state of New York. The volume shows how Roosevelt developed his rhetorical skills, his art of manipulation and coalition building, and his incredible bond to the American people through the Depression and World War II. As commander in chief, he mastered the leadership skills that made him a great military leader and a political leader who established himself as a paramount figure using control of the Democratic party. In the process, he solidified the party as a long-lasting coalition that set the United States as a world empire.
Michael P. Riccards and Cheryl A. Flagg are the co-authors of Woodrow Wilson as Commander in Chief: The Presidency and the Great War.
Chapter One: The Roosevelt before FDR
Chapter Two: The Young Franklin
Chapter Three: Roosevelt in Office
Chapter Four: Mr. Assistant Secretary
Chapter Five: The Years the Locust Ate: The Democratic Party, 1920–1932
Chapter Six: The Curse of Polio
Chapter Seven: Eleanor: FDR’s Eyes, Ears, and Legs
Chapter Eight: Governor Roosevelt
Chapter Nine: The Great Depression and Herbert Hoover
Chapter Ten: The Election of 1932 and the Interregnum
Chapter Eleven: The One Hundred Days
Chapter Twelve: The Early Vote of Confidence
Chapter Thirteen: The Party Splits Asunder
Chapter Fourteen: The Purge
Chapter Fifteen: The New Deal outside the South
Chapter Sixteen: FDR and the Urban Bosses
Chapter Seventeen: The Fight over Neutrality
Chapter Eighteen: The Election of 1940
Chapter Nineteen: The Road to War
Chapter Twenty: FDR as Commander in Chief, 1942
Chapter Twenty-One: FDR as Commander in Chief, 1943
Chapter Twenty-Two: FDR as Commander in Chief, 1944
Appendix One: Fireside Chats
Appendix Two: New Deal Agencies and Program
Appendix Three: FDR’s Decisions over or against those of Military Advisors
Appendix Four: Important Events, World War II, 1939–45
About the Authors
This study offers a refreshing perspective on well-tilled intellectual territory. This highly readable presentation covers the range of FDR’s life from his family background until 1945. The overriding theme, as reflected in the title, is his interface with the complicated party politics during various stages of his public life. From a reluctant player to the masterful dealer, Roosevelt’s successes are chronicled in light of his interactions—and, importantly, those of his surrogates’ interactions—with the differing party elements of various sections of the country. The net result was the famous Roosevelt coalition. A fascinating note about the later Roosevelt as a war leader concerns FDR’s management of domestic forces as he effectively finessed Churchill’s competing agenda for the conduct of the war. This story is compelling, adds new insights, and is written well.
Party Politics in the Age of Roosevelt is both a lesson in history and a lesson for today. Michael P. Riccards and Cheryl A. Flagg have written a comprehensive history that takes readers from Franklin Roosevelt’s entrance into politics through his tenure as the nation’s chief executive. Along the way, they explore how he dealt with polio, his relationship with his wife Eleanor, and his use of radio and television to communicate with the American people. The book could easily stand on its own as a definitive history of the nation’s 32nd president, but this book is far more than a biography. Riccards and Flagg masterfully support their thesis that Roosevelt not only led the nation through the Great Depression and the Second World War but also built a legacy that forever shaped America.