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Extended Audio Sample The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, by Jonathan Alter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,015 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Alter Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this dramatic and fascinating account, Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter shows how Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his first one hundred days in office to lift the country from the despair and paralysis of the Great Depression and transform the American presidency. Instead of becoming the dictator so many wanted in those first days, FDR rescued banks, put men to work immediately, and laid the groundwork for his most ambitious achievements, including what eventually became the Social Security Administration. Alter explains how FDR’s background and experiences uniquely qualified him to pull off an astonishing conjuring act that saved both democracy and capitalism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Alter’s account has a refreshing buoyancy, not unlike its protagonist…describing Roosevelt’s missteps as honestly as his triumphs, it succeeds in bringing a remarkable man back to life.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Most Americans believe Roosevelt was a great man and a great president. Alter shows us that in the end magnificent rhetoric and action do not always bring concrete results.”

    Washington Post

  • “A book like this, revealing the power of presidential speeches, should be read—in FDR’s repetition for emphasis—’again and again and again.’”

    William Safire

  • “Jonathan Alter’s The Defining Moment is an extraordinarily vivid account of a remarkable moment in American history. It is also a rich and perceptive examination of how Franklin Roosevelt transformed the presidency. This book should be of interest to everyone who cares about the New Deal, and also to everyone who wants to understand the character of American politics.”

    Alan Brinkley, author of The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War

  • “In The Defining Moment, one of the shrewdest political observers of our time turns his spotlight on the man who may have been the ablest American politician of all time.”

    Geoffrey C. Ward, author of Before the Trumpet and A First-Class Temperament

  • The Defining Moment is a riveting account of the first hundred days of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. Alter bewitches readers in this fast-moving story, often poignant, sometimes funny, of how Roosevelt changed the direction of American history.”

    David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln

  • The Defining Moment should be required reading for every president, every student of leadership, and anyone who appreciates narrative history at its finest.”

    Richard Norton Smith, author of An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by KristiJ Jennings | 2/14/2014

    " Though I thought this book would focus on the accomplishments of FDR's first 100 Days, instead the book spends most of its time as a biography of FDR - dissecting and discussing his nuances as a politician to illustrate how he pushed his agenda through not only Congress, but his own administration and the public's feelings towards him. Ultimately, the book is less about empirical evidence of how successful his programs were, but more about how his persona itself and the people's trust in him made his programs succeed in spite of themselves. In today's tough times, the only thing better than a story about how hope for a better future won out over panic, corruption and dissension, is a True story about that victory. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lauri | 2/9/2014

    " Well, after reading this book, I don't idolize FDR as much as I used too. This book does a fair job of portraying Roosevelt's good points and bad. I learned a lot from this book. Some things that I thought FDR created, it turns out he didn't. And there are many things that he created, that I never would've given him credit for. So much debate surrounds this president, but his ultimate vision for our country was a good one. Ps. Ronald Regan idolized the liberal FDR. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mark Kasten | 2/6/2014

    " A very good look at the personality of FDR that was essential to the second part of the book's title, "the Triumph of Hope." While I expected this book to concentrate on the legislative meat of the 100 Days it instead looks at how FDR's personality transformed the country to an even greater degree than the initial New Deal works that were implemented during that time. To the author's credit he rightly convinces us that the true miracle was indeed the man himself. Not his ideas but his spirit; how he, much like Washington and Lincoln before him, had the particular being for a particular time in our country's history that transcends any tangible political or legislative idea or idiom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Pamela | 1/16/2014

    " A fascinating detailed portrayal of FDR's first election and the first 100 days of his presidency. Provides a framework for leadership in troubled times... I read it because it was reported that Obama was reading it, and I'm glad we both did. "

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