Review of “Man of Destiny: FDR and the Making of the American Century” by Alonzo Hamby

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

Alonza Hamby’s “Man of Destiny: FDR and the Making of the American Century” was published in 2015 and is one of only two comprehensive, single-volume biographies of FDR published recently.  Hamby is a historian, author and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio University. He is the author of a biography of Harry S. Truman I read and reviewed in 2016.

While acknowledging there is no shortage of FDR biographies, Hamby felt compelled to write this book given his view that most coverage of FDR is excessively friendly and insufficiently critical. His goal, therefore, was to produce an objective – and efficient – biography of FDR’s entire life. But while this book is judiciously balanced and comparatively short (with 436 pages of text), it almost entirely fails to humanize Roosevelt, offers inadequate coverage of his pre-presidency and exudes a disappointingly antiseptic style.

Franklin Roosevelt’s complicated and contradictory persona…

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