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Download The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope Audiobook, by Jonathan Alter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 5 3.77 (26 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Alter Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2006 ISBN: 9781482974096
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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 1/15/2014

    " Now is a great time to read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim Labelle | 1/13/2014

    " It's hard to imagine the depths of despair in the United States in the early months of 1933 when FDR was sworn in as President. The unemployment rate was 25% or higher and the banks had been closed by the governors of more than 1/2 the States. FDR's first act as President was to declare a bank "holiday" and shut down all the banks in the U.S. Full transcripts of his inaugural address and his first Fireside Chat are contained in an appendix. In the context of the times they are stunningly brilliant and were decisive in lifting the mood of the nation. It was the first step in the recovery of its economy. It's a well-written book; very clear and easy to follow. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 R Kulik | 12/31/2013

    " If you really want a lightweight history overly concerned with the present day, this is the book for you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kiersten | 12/29/2013

    " Not a history buff but this was recommended to me and on sale. I have a hard time connecting to it but it's well written "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 12/11/2013

    " The best chapter is the one on Social Security. And while I appreciate the history, I wish the book had gone more in depth later. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 10/3/2013

    " This was an excellent book about FDR and showed not only his strengths but his flaws also. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 7/11/2013

    " This was a lot of information. As one of the most influencial figures for our social reform programs, he is one of my favorite men..although more flawed than I had realized. Now, off to watch the documentaries! Stop laughing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie Driver | 3/24/2013

    " I ended up skimming the last half of this book- it just couldn't hold my attention, I think mostly because it discussed FDR as a man more than discussing the policies of the day. It was a bit redundant- Or maybe I was just not trying hard enough. If you have read it, let me know what you think. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Billy Brown | 10/8/2012

    " FDR was good at instilling hope - a skill that was extremely important during that first 100 days of his presidency. He played the part of president perfectly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Irwin | 8/15/2012

    " A different perspective on FDR, and how his first hundred days may well have prevented the U.S. from abandoning democracy at a time of enormous loss of faith in representative government and the rise of totalitarian regimes elsewhere in the world. A worthwhile read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emiliano Orencia | 7/25/2012

    " I'm a big fan of J. Alter so I really enjoyed it. Mostly covers FDR's early history and then up to 1933. It's quite a writing since Alter had to use many secondary sources to piece it together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John E | 5/25/2011

    " Really a study of the personality of FDR and its impact on the development of the New Deal. Not much on the details of the "Hundred Days" legislation. Still it is a good overview of Roosevelt and some of the people around him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cameron | 5/3/2011

    " Loved this book. Very germane (had to use that word) and well written. It illuminated a period in US history that I was not very familiar with, and provide fascinating insights into FDR's character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 12/13/2010

    " Seeing as he is always on Countdown, I should read his book and thus far, pretty damn good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dustin | 11/9/2010

    " For FDR devotees like myself, this book is a must-read. You'll learn the story behind the legendary "100 days" and Roosevelt's road to the presidency. Very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen | 8/7/2010

    " This book was well written with excellent research. Roosevelt was not an intellectual but he had great instincts and great leadership skills. Very enjoyable book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 8/1/2010

    " A very good historical read. The title implies that a bulk of the book would be spent on the first 100 days and what it meant. I was disappointed that that period wasn't covered in more depth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 7/18/2010

    " This was an excellent book about FDR and showed not only his strengths but his flaws also. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Billy | 4/26/2010

    " FDR was good at instilling hope - a skill that was extremely important during that first 100 days of his presidency. He played the part of president perfectly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bryce | 4/9/2010

    " Great primer on FDR for the new gig. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 columbialion | 2/21/2010

    " A great work and highly relevant on the cusp of the disastrous Bush years. Emerging historical author Alter relates another President who took office in times of great crisis, and the methods he used to right the American ship.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 2/17/2010

    " Now is a great time to read this book. "

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About the Author
Author Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter is an analyst and contributing correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC and a New York Times bestselling author. He is a former senior editor and columnist for Newsweek and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, the New Republic, and other publications.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.