This is history told the old-fashioned way. The book is only as long as it needs to be, the adroit narrative full of heroes (Smith, Roosevelt, big-city Democratic bosses) and villains (William Randolph Hearst, William Jennings Bryan, the Ku Klux Klan). The scenes are vivid and the anecdotes plentiful. In an author’s note, Mr. Golway confides that he has used his informed imagination at times to add texture to his tale, but all the crucial elements are endnoted, and his improvisations seem benign enough.
Golway, senior editor at Politico, convincingly asserts that the unlikely alliance between Franklin Roosevelt and Al Smith formed the core of the Democratic coalition that dominated national politics in subsequent decades ... Golway has written a fine account of a surprising, effective, and sometimes sad partnership that shaped much of the national politics in twentieth-century America.
Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945) is no stranger to historians, but Politico senior editor Golway...wisely wraps matters up after he became president in 1933 ... A fine account of FDR’s rise to power combined with a cradle-to-grave biography of the man who made it possible.