Cover image for That man : an insider's portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt
That man : an insider's portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jackson, Robert H., 1892-1954.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxviii, 290 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Format :


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E807 .J36 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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E807 .J36 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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Robert H. Jackson was one of the giants of the Roosevelt era: an Attorney General, a still revered Supreme Court Justice and, not least important, one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's close friends and advisers. His intimate memoir of FDR, written in the early 1950s before Jackson's untimelydeath, has remained unpublished for fifty years. Here is that newly discovered memoir. Written with skill and grace, this is truly a unique account of the personality, conduct, greatness of character, and common humanity of "that man in the White House," as outraged conservatives called FDR. Jackson simply but eloquently provides an insider's view of Roosevelt's presidency,including such crucial events as FDR's Court-packing plan, his battles with corporate America, his decision to seek a third term, and his bold move to aid Britain in 1940 with American destroyers. He also offers an intimate personal portrait of Roosevelt--on fishing trips, in late-night poker games,or approving legislation while eating breakfast in bed, where he routinely began his workday. We meet a president who is far-sighted but nimble in attacking the problems at hand; principled but flexible; charismatic and popular but unafraid to pick fights, take stands, and when necessary, makeenemies. That Man is not simply a valuable historical document, but an engaging and insightful look at one of the most remarkable men in American history. In reading this memoir, we gain not only a new appreciation for Roosevelt, but also admiration for Jackson, who emerges as both a public servant ofgreat integrity and skill and a wry, shrewd, and fair-minded observer of politics at the highest level.

Author Notes

Robert H. Jackson was Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1941 to his death in 1954. A major figure in American legal history, he also served as Solicitor General and Attorney General of the United States, and the American Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial. Author of the best-selling The Nurnberg Case, he is considered by many to be the finest writer ever to sit on the Supreme Court
John Q. Barrett is Professor of Law at St. John's University in New York and Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York. He formerly served in the office of Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh investigating Iran-Contra, and in the U.S. Department of Justice. He discovered the manuscript of That Man among Robert Jackson's papers while researching a biography of the justice

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Robert H. Jackson was one of the ultimate FDR insiders. Nominated by Roosevelt to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1941, Jackson had previously served the president as attorney general, solicitor general and in other posts. More importantly from the standpoint of this book, FDR and Jackson were great personal friends: poker pals who had known and respected each other since their days as young Democrats exploring the possibilities of Albany politics. Thus Jackson's never-before-published memoir (unearthed only recently by St. John's University Law School professor Barrett) is a rare find. Written not long before Jackson's untimely death in 1954, these superbly eloquent chapters provide intimate glimpses of Roosevelt operating on many different levels. Through Jackson's informed lens, we are shown FDR as president, politician, lawyer, commander-in-chief, administrator, populist leader and companion. Jackson's account is not only of infinite value for the new light it sheds on "that man," but also for unique glimpses of Harold Ickes, Tommy "the cork" Corcoran, Harry Hopkins and other New Deal stalwarts. A foreword by noted historian Leuchtenburg does a thorough job of setting Jackson's prose in historical context. Of equal value are the contributions of Jackson biographer Barrett, who has artfully illuminated Jackson's text with necessary and unobtrusive notations. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

While conducting research for a biography on Robert H. Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt's solicitor general, attorney general, and appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Barrett (law, St. John's Univ.) discovered Jackson's unfinished manuscript on the president dating from the early 1950s. Here, he supplements that text with excerpts from Jackson's unpublished autobiography and oral interviews. Though most of the narrative lacks Jackson's usual eloquence, there are flashes of it. In discussing FDR as a politician, lawyer, commander in chief, administrator, economist, and human being, Jackson indirectly reveals himself. He was essentially a lawyer, while FDR was a politician despite his law degree. The president encouraged the electoral entrance of his decade-younger prot?g?, but Jackson admits his happiest days during the Roosevelt administration were spent as the solicitor general, his least political position. Barely mentioned in the editor's endnotes and biographical sketches is Jackson's subsequent self-destruction as the leading candidate for the chief justiceship to replace Harlan Fiske Stone. Nonetheless, Jackson viewed FDR and Charles Evans Hughes as the two greatest men of his era. His insights into FDR's personality confirm those presented in the best biographies of the president. Highly recommended for academic libraries with presidential and judicial collections.-William 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

Incomplete at the time of his death in 1954 and only recently discovered, Jackson's elegant memoir of his years with FDR is an invaluable addition to the literature. Jackson, who served as Roosevelt's Attorney General before his appointment to the Supreme Court, was present for everything from discussions of high policy to poker games with the president to screenings of home movies of the Yalta conference. A sound civil libertarian, Jackson often disagreed with FDR's policies, and his portrait, though warm and intimate, is all the more impressive because of this balance of faults and abilities. Jackson's observations of the time and of the many people who interacted with FDR are so deftly drawn that readers share the author's sentiment, upon hearing of the president's death, that "an era has come to an end." The editing by Barrett (law, St. John's Univ.), who fleshed out the unfinished work with documents and other writings by Jackson, is remarkable in its own right; the footnotes themselves constitute a mini-history of the FDR presidency. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels and libraries. L. M. Lees Old Dominion University

Table of Contents

William E. LeuchtenburgJohn Q. Barrett
Forewordp. VII
Introductionp. XIII
Introductionp. 1
1 That Man in the White Housep. 11
2 That Man as Politicianp. 17
3 That Man as Lawyerp. 59
4 That Man as Commander-in-Chiefp. 75
5 That Man as Administratorp. 111
6 That Man as Economistp. 119
7 That Man as Companion and Sportsmanp. 135
8 That Man as Leader of the Massesp. 157
Epiloguep. 165
Biographical Sketchesp. 173
Notesp. 213
Bibliographical Essayp. 261
Acknowledgmentsp. 267
Indexp. 271