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Download Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Audiobook, by H. W. Brands Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,178 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: H. W. Brands Narrator: Patrick Egan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2008 ISBN: 9780739369494
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A sweeping, magisterial biography of the man generally considered the greatest president of the twentieth century, admired by Democrats and Republicans alike. Traitor to His Class sheds new light on FDR's formative years, his remarkable willingness to champion the concerns of the poor and disenfranchised, his combination of political genius, firm leadership, and matchless diplomacy in saving democracy in America during the Great Depression and the American cause of freedom in World War II.

Drawing on archival materials, public speeches, personal correspondence, and accounts by family and close associates, acclaimed bestselling historian and biographer H. W. Brands offers a compelling and intimate portrait of Roosevelt’s life and career.

Brands explores the powerful influence of FDR’s dominating mother and the often tense and always unusual partnership between FDR and his wife, Eleanor, and her indispensable contributions to his presidency. Most of all, the book traces in breathtaking detail FDR’s revolutionary efforts with his New Deal legislation to transform the American political economy in order to save it, his forceful—and cagey—leadership before and during World War II, and his lasting legacy in creating the foundations of the postwar international order.

Traitor to His Class brilliantly captures the qualities that have made FDR a beloved figure to millions of Americans. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • This is a rare book, indeed, shedding new light and brilliant insight upon an elusive subject we thought we knew well.  In this elegant, all-encompassing portrayal, master historian H. W. Brands shows us a leader who got the big issues right and, in doing so, forever changed the expectations of the world.  Traitor to His Class will quickly emerge as the finest one-volume biography of FDR. David Oshinsky, Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for History
  • We live in the world Franklin Roosevelt created, and we can never know enough about him. In this illuminating portrait of the man who proved far more radical than his upbringing would have ever suggested, H. W. Brands has painted FDR in bright and brilliant colors. Jon Meacham, author of Franklin and Winston and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
  • "H.W. Brands has accomplished a remarkable feat in this terrific work. As if he were creating characters in a novel, he has brought to vivid life the central figures in his story--FDR, Eleanor, Sara Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the inner circle in the White House--while at the same time providing a fresh understanding of the rich historical context for their thoughts and actions at every step along the way. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Team of Rivals

  • If you want to understand how a great president should act, Traitor to His Class is must reading
    New York Observer
  • H.W. Brands’s wonderful new biography of Rooseveltshows the precision and attention to detail that one would expect from a scholar and, at the same time, reads like a novel…it is rich in insights and fresh perspectives that will appeal to the expert and the general reader alike. This may well be the best general biography of Franklin Roosevelt we will see for many years to come. Christian Science Monitor
  • Very much worth reading. The New Yorker
  • Impressive...Roosevelt was prepared to be radical to meet dangerous circumstances. Yet his instincts and the outcomes of many of his policies were often conservative. As a radical, he saved the old order--and advanced Ameriacn power more than any president since Jefferson...Courage, charm, resourceful cunning and a hidden hardness enabled him to save American capitalism, though, as he said himself, it was Dr. Win-the-War, not Dr. New Deal, that ended the Depression. Mr. Brands is masterly in describing the patience with which FDR brought the country to understand the danger of fascism. The Economist
  • “H.W. Brands’s wonderful new biography of Roosevelt…shows the precision and attention to detail that one would expect from a scholar and, at the same time, [it] reads like a novel…It is rich in insights and fresh perspectives that will appeal to the expert and the general reader alike. This may well be the best general biography of Franklin Roosevelt we will see for many years to come.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Very much worth reading.”

    New Yorker

  • “A thoroughly readable, scrupulously fair assessment of the one president who could inspire a Mt. Rushmore makeover.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • H.W. Brands is a master at finding the essence of an important American life, telling its story grippingly and showing us why it is important to our own generation.  With Traitor to His Class, he has surpassed even his own high standard.  This judicious and compelling work is the first major one-volume biography written by an historian too young to have lived in Franklin Roosevelt's time.  It deserves a wide audience, especially among those younger Americans who need to be told why we all owe so much to FDR. Michael Beschloss
  • The longest-serving president in U.S. history, Roosevelt was arguably the most inscrutable. He kept no diary, wrote no autobiography and unburdened himself to no one. Even his wife had no idea what was on his mind...Brands explains in detail how this ambitious Hudson Valley patrician, the coddled son of an elderly father and dominating mother, managed to defy his family and social class and become the most reform-minded president in U.S. history. Washington Post Book World
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2009 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Biography/Autobiography
  • A 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Biography

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 2/17/2014

    " A vivid account of FDR's rise to power and presidency, but I was disappointed by a lack of thesis. The title was provocative, but the implications of FDR's policies on class issues, or the contrast between populist policies and his background (his uncle was a Republican of some note) are not explored. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 1/30/2014

    " An interesting biography of FDR. I learned a lot about his life that they don't teach you in history class. I wish there had been more written about WWII. Maybe I'll read some history books next! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 1/30/2014

    " Great book. Incredibly readable. I think Jean Edward Smith's is a little better, but this one reads more smoothly. Brands offers, not surprisingly, a more pro-FDR approach to many controversies about FDR's presidency, but Brands offers strong - if not lock-tight - argumentation for his interpretations. Definitely worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan Shipley | 1/29/2014

    " The book was pretty neutral despite the title which is what I was looking for. But I do think the author made light of the negative qualities of FDR. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tag | 1/29/2014

    " Good stuff. Very interesting read...Don't think there are anymore FDR's around, sigh... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Regina | 1/28/2014

    " Finally finished this book. Reading this book helped me better understand the 20s, the Great Depression, the New Deal, what led up to WWII and how Roosevelt managed the war (politically). Roosevelt was definitely a complex character - he put his political ambitions above almost all else, but he cared enough about the poor, hungry to make sure they were taken care of during the Depression. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don Weidinger | 1/25/2014

    " words of author: Religion as crutch for weak, 1912 split of republican conservatives and progressives, dems sought fdr, love to campaign, inherit wealth via mother Sara who withheld when affair with Lucy Mercer after many children with Eleanor, a cold war in family, Cox/fdr loss in 1920 of 16M vs 9M votes, support for BSA in 21, polio typ includes mental depression, distrusted Macarthur, in 32: farm program Morgenthau imposed central planning with no input from farmers (who desired products marketed overseas and lower interest rates), deceitful in gold standard changes, Natl Economic Planning based on model of war board, sweater example was poor as fdr believed in govt planning and price fixing, until supreme court stopped some 600 codes with 400 code violations in prosecution, demonized opponents, hundreds of thousands against court packing plan of fdr, believed there was an economic recovery yet unemployment numbers do not validate, first chat in march 36, believed Acts should protect people and secure prosperity for people verses individual liberty, people disapproved court restacking 59%, young new dealers in admin and Keynes believed more govt spending vs conservative dems who said to balance budget in 37, then a roosevelt recession/democrat depression in 37, too many unknowns cratered economy to worse level in 37 than 29, unknowns despite govt planning of economy, weak response to Japan attack of US ship in China, failed to help Ethiopians crushed by fascism, 37 spanish war was first use of bombing of civilians by nazis, fdr did not know if hitler bluffing in 38 despite previous actions in Austria and with jewish citizens, then there was Czech sell-out, and still was soft and non-supportive of France and Britain allies until after nov 40' re-election, a soft response to tyrants emboldens them, fdr meek letters of hope to hitler, destroyers to Britain after election, promise to not send boys disingenuous, Churchill encouraged fdr to do firm message to Japan at Atlantic conf in 41 yet a weak hopeful message was given by fdr which triggered the replacement of Japan's admin, no mention of internment of Americans nor of Holocaust tragedy underway by hitler in late 30's, thus, what would a strong leader have done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen Lewis | 1/10/2014

    " I'm not a huge presidential book reader, but this one grabbed my attention and kept me interested! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill Simpson | 11/4/2013

    " Great book. I felt that I got to know FDR on a more personal basis with the way Mr. Brands put the book together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristiana | 10/3/2013

    " I have been trying to read this book since July. It's 37 hours long. I had to restart it two or three times. I finally did it though, and it was really worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 9/7/2013

    " It took me quite a while to finish this book I must say, but I'm really glad I did. This was a really good rendering of FDR's time pre-WWII and a great perspective on his New Deal. I liked the author's perspectives even if it took far too long to read this thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 7/27/2013

    " A good overview of FDR's life and presidency but a little too long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 7/5/2013

    " For any fan of FDR, a must read. Well written, insightful. In these times, also very timely. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 5/9/2013

    " Well rounded and dense with facts, this is another good biography by Mr. Brands of a very great president. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 3/24/2013

    " Very insightful and well written, with a lot of parallels to today's world, but a long read. I need something light and fluffy to read next. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joyce Port | 1/30/2013

    " An excellent account of Franklin Roosevelt's life and times. At times reads more like a history book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 3/20/2011

    " Well-written and insightful. Brands maintains a particular humanist perspective without getting caught up in too much or necessary detail. I was able to close the book with a better idea of the man, as a man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 3/11/2011

    " It took me quite a while to finish this book I must say, but I'm really glad I did. This was a really good rendering of FDR's time pre-WWII and a great perspective on his New Deal. I liked the author's perspectives even if it took far too long to read this thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/26/2011

    " Very insightful and well written, with a lot of parallels to today's world, but a long read. I need something light and fluffy to read next. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 2/23/2011

    " Excellent book. I love Brand's style. He keeps out of the way of the narrative. I was impressed on how he kept the book so short and still packed it with rich detail. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tag | 2/19/2011

    " Good stuff. Very interesting read...Don't think there are anymore FDR's around, sigh... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debby | 1/26/2011

    " There is a remarkable similarity between the first 100 presidential days of Roosevelt and Obama. Much of the "big government" remains today. Roosevelt masterfully manipulated people to accomplish his goals. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joyce | 10/1/2010

    " An excellent account of Franklin Roosevelt's life and times. At times reads more like a history book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 8/23/2010

    " great book about the man that served as our longest president of the united states. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 8/9/2010

    " A good overview of FDR's life and presidency but a little too long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristiana | 7/27/2010

    " I have been trying to read this book since July. It's 37 hours long. I had to restart it two or three times. I finally did it though, and it was really worth it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 6/24/2010

    " Well rounded and dense with facts, this is another good biography by Mr. Brands of a very great president. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kcatty | 6/11/2010

    " To analyze:
    - FDR
    - poor, poor Eleanor Roosevelt
    - the writing
    :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeff | 5/4/2010

    " Not interesting enough to capture my attention for 800 pages, but if you really want info on FDR's life, it is definitely here. "

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About the Author

H. W. Brands is the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. A New York Times bestselling author, he was the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American and again for Traitor to His Class.

About the Narrator

Patrick Egan is an audiobook narrator whose readings include Miguel Nicolelis’ Beyond Boundaries, Peter Guber’s Tell to Win, Harvey Sachs’ The Ninth, and numerous others.