BECOMING FDR: THE PERSONAL CRISIS THAT MADE A PRESIDENT by JONATHAN DARMAN

This revealing biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt shows how one of the most consequential leaders in American history found his true self in his searing struggle with polio–emerging from illness with strength and wisdom he would use to inspire the world.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a natural politician. He was born in 1882 into a wealthy and influential family and he was nice-looking and a charmer. And still, with all of this going for him, he didn’t have an easy time. He wasn’t naturally empathetic and strategic thinking was not his strong suit. It would take a long time and a serious illness to instill those qualities in him.

This biography tells us the story of the events that shaped his character and his political successes. In 1921 he contracted polio. He was 39 at the time and he was paralyzed from the waist down. He spent a lot of time trying to face this new reality and a lot of time trying everything to get well.

In 1928 he was the Democrat’s choice for Governor of New York. He had changed considerably. He was compassionate and listened to his constituents. He had found hope. And he used that to motivate the rest of us.

We also see how his wife evolved and became his most ardent supporter and voice.

This was a very good look at the life of a president. My own father had polio and he would always tell us that he got well because of this president. He kept hope alive.

Well-researched and a real joy to read.

NetGalley/September 6th, 2022 by Random House


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