New from Simon & Schuster

The Man He Became

The Man He Became

How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency

  • customer reviews
Here, from James Tobin, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, is the story of the greatest comeback in American political history, a saga long buried in half-truth, distortion and myth— Franklin Roosevelt’s ten-year climb from paralysis to the White House.

In 1921, at the age of thirty-nine, Roosevelt was the brightest young star in the Democratic Party. One day he was racing his children around their summer home. Two days later he could not stand up. Hopes of a quick recovery faded fast. “He’s through,” said allies and enemies alike. Even his family and close friends misjudged their man, as they and the nation would learn in time.

With a painstaking reexamination of original documents, James Tobin uncovers the twisted chain of accidents that left FDR paralyzed; he reveals how polio recast Roosevelt’s fateful partnership with his wife, Eleanor; and he shows that FDR’s true victory was not over paralysis but over the ancient stigma attached to the crippled. Tobin also explodes the conventional wisdom of recent years—that FDR deceived the public about his condition. In fact, Roosevelt and his chief aide, Louis Howe, understood that only by displaying himself as a man who had come back from a knockout punch could FDR erase the perception that had followed him from childhood—that he was a pampered, too smooth pretty boy without the strength to lead the nation. As Tobin persuasively argues, FDR became president less in spite of polio than because of polio.

The Man He Became affirms that true character emerges only in crisis and that in the shaping of this great American leader character was all.
Choose a format:
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743265157 | 
  • November 2013
Add to Cart
List Price $30.00
Usually ships within 1 business day

Video

History in Five: James Tobin on How Polio Shaped FDR's Political Career

James Tobin, author of THE MAN HE BECAME, presents the five things you should know about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his affliction with polio, and his rise in politics.

Read an Excerpt

The Man He Became CHAPTER 1 Infection
– July 28, 1921 –

The virus that causes poliomyelitis entered Franklin Roosevelt’s body in the summer of 1921. At the moment of infection he was a famous and vigorous young man on the rise toward national leadership. The virus was small beyond imagining.

Ten more years would go by before the first electron microscopes revealed that the poliovirus resembles a distant planet inscribed with tiny canyons. The virus is not alive in the... see more

More Books from this Author

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!