Cover image for FDR and his enemies
FDR and his enemies
Fried, Albert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
261 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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E807 .F77 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E807 .F77 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E807 .F77 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E807 .F77 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt's bold initiatives and his willingness to break historic precedent in handling the Great Depression and the coming of WWII were challenged by giant figures of the era, each with his own fierce constituencies. This study looks at Roosevelt's ideological and personal st

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Sixty-seven years after he was first elected to the presidency, FDR and his foreign and domestic policies remain controversial and often serve as a "litmus test" for ideologies of both the Left and Right. For conservatives, Roosevelt's New Deal policies were a futile and destructive expansion of government power. Many neo-isolationists within today's Republican Party still condemn Roosevelt for "manipulating" the nation into World War II. Roosevelt's left-wing critics accuse him of putting Band-Aids on a corrupt, anachronistic economic system while offering only timid resistance to the early advance of fascism. History professor Fried examines Roosevelt's conflict with and victory over varied critics, including Al Smith, Huey Long, Charles Lindbergh, and Charles Coughlin. Fried convincingly asserts that Roosevelt defeated his critics primarily because he was a superb pragmatist who refused to be hindered by an ideological straightjacket. He intuitively understood that most Americans still had a stake in maintaining the basic structure of American society, while expecting at least short-term modification. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Starting from the premise that the legacy of a public figure is largely defined by the quality and number of his enemies, Fried (Communism in America, etc.) views the successes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt through the lens of his triumphs over five prominent foes: Al Smith, New York governor and Democratic presidential candidate; Huey Long, Louisiana governor and U.S. senator; hate-filled radio demagogue Father Charles E. Coughlin; United Mine Workers labor leader John L. Lewis; and aviator and political isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh. There is little new about Roosevelt in this book, and little new about his antagonists. Fried's thesis, though, is fresh and yields an interesting way of viewing the political battles Roosevelt had to wage to boost the Depression economy as well as to mobilize the nation's citizenry for a world war. Fried believes Roosevelt prevailed over impressive opposition because he understood the needs of the American populace better than his opponents did. Among the hundreds of books about Roosevelt and his presidency and the numerous books about Smith, Long, Coughlin, Lewis and Lindbergh as individuals, none treats the five men as agroup in quite the way Fried does. His book is a valuable addition to understanding how Roosevelt maintained confidence in the federal government while winning re-election three times. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the midst of Civil War, Abraham Lincoln upheld America's great experiment in self-government by holding a national election, although the results could have ousted him as president. Likewise, Franklin Roosevelt successfully waged internal war on the Great Depression, then mounted an offense in World War II without curtailing national elections, although Britain suspended them during the same period. Fried (history, SUNY at Purchase), author of more than a dozen books, highlights FDR's democratic character by contrasting him with five major antagonists: Al Smith, Charles E. Coughlin, Huey Long, John L. Lewis, and Charles A. Lindbergh. Fried masterfully weaves a fascinating and important history in prose that reflects the basis for his two previous Pulitzer Prize nominations. Fried's latest work complements Byron W. Daynes's The New Deal and Public Policy (St. Martin's, 1997). Recommended for all public and academic libraries.√ĄWilliam D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Fried examines Franklin D. Roosevelt's ideological and personal struggle against five influential men: Al Smith, Father Charles Coughlin, John L. Lewis, Huey Long, and Charles Lindbergh. The author describes the intellectual, moral, and tactical underpinnings of the debates about the New Deal and foreign policy, debates over which FDR triumphed. Fried has two mutually supporting theses. First, he argues that the most egregious blunder committed by FDR's enemies was to misgauge his leadership qualities. Getting opponents to wrongly estimate him was no small part of FDR's political finesse. Fried's second thesis is that FDR knew the aspirations of the American people--a modicum of economic security and the prospect of improvement in their children's lives--and his enemies did not. And these were what he provided. In foreign policy FDR's greatness lay in sensing Hitler's threat, eloquently conveying it despite isolationist opposition, and then mobilizing the country to overcome it. Thus, in opposing Roosevelt, his enemies resisted the historic forces that chose him as their instrument. The author uses mostly secondary sources. For further reading, see George Wolfskill and John A. Hudson's All but the People: Franklin D. Roosevelt and His Critics, 1933-1939 (CH, Jun'69). Endnotes. Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. E. Marcello; University of North Texas

Table of Contents

Introduction: Politics and Popularity
Winning the Prize
The First New Deal
Roosevelt Triumphant
The Isolationist Impulse