PositiveThe Boston GlobeIn an era in which moral, linguistic, and financial corruption hold sway, this story could not be more timely. It is the story of a high-born male — tall, immensely handsome, and intelligent, who sees his life’s purpose in doing good for others ... Some historians may cavil that Dallek has done little original research, with no new information or insights, moreover that he has paraphrased their work to an immoderate extent. Or worse, has largely ignored the most recent work of historians over the past 15 or 20 years. Biographers may feel the same: lamenting Dallek’s lack of an individual authorial style or vivid narrative artistry and architecture, so that the book reads at times like a generic piece of young adult nonfiction ... For my money, however, I think “Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life’’ a most welcome reminder of what a career of idealistic political purpose can still achieve for one’s country, and for the world.
RaveThe Boston GlobeUntil you read the book it’s difficult to comprehend just how skillfully, and with what narrative brio, Brinkley manages to tell this story of one man’s single-minded odyssey, aided and abetted by men like Harold Ickes and FDR’s uncle Frederic Delano. Perhaps he is a little quick to absolve FDR from the ecological downsides of some of his schemes ... But Brinkley’s admiration for the leader’s devotion to the land is clearly sincere, and FDR’s story is surely a unique and hitherto neglected one, fully deserving of such a big canvas.