From One of the Greatest Leaders in American History, a Collection of the Words and Writings that Inspired a Generation of Americans to Become the Greatest Generation
In just under three decades of public life, Franklin Delano Roosevelt rose to become one of the greatest orators and leaders in American history. As the longest-serving US president, he guided the nation through two of the greatest challenges of the twentieth century—the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Fascist threat of the 1940s—and radically transformed American public life. In doing so, FDR created the conditions that enabled Americans to make the United States stronger, more prosperous, and more democratic than ever before for generations to come.
Through his words—selected, annotated, and introduced here by writer and scholar Harvey J. Kaye—we rediscover the liberal and social-democratic vision and promise that FDR articulated so powerfully. We recall Roosevelt's efforts to redeem the challenge of the Declaration of Independence and renew the promise of equality and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We see him empower working people and make life more secure for more Americans. And we are reminded of his desire to not simply win the Second World War, but to create a nation and a world committed to the realization of the Four Freedoms—freedom of speech and worship, freedom from want and fear—indeed, to enact here in the United States a Second Bill of Rights, an Economic Bill of Rights for all Americans.
In this collection of his greatest writings and speeches, we encounter the words that inspired and encouraged Americans to remember who they were and what they were capable of accomplishing—the words that helped turn a generation of Americans into the Greatest Generation.
Now more than ever, we need to recall FDR's words. Now, when FDR's democratic legacy—the legacy of a generation—is under siege, we need to remind ourselves of who we are and what we need to do to make America freer, more equal, and more democratic.
"In this remarkable collection of Franklin Roosevelt’s most inspiring speeches and writings, writer and scholar Harvey Kaye powerfully reminds us of the liberal and social democratic vision and promise FDR encouraged and articulated. Now more than ever, with our democracy under assault, FDR’s words give strength to the many fighting to redeem and renew the promise of our democracy, of the Four Freedoms and an Economic Bill of Rights for all."—Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editorial Director & Publisher, The Nation
“At a time when our democracy is under siege, this collection of FDR’s speeches and writings has been expertly curated to help us remember the progressive, indeed, radical history of the United States. Through the words of FDR, Harvey Kaye reminds us that there is no need to look to other countries for truly progressive visions of democracy and freedom—no, those visions are as American as baseball and apple pie. Redeeming this history and FDR’s promise of the Four Freedoms and call for an Economic Bill of Rights, this book offers an extraordinary unifying message for the fight to defend and strengthen our democracy.”—Mark Paul, Assistant Professor of Economics, New College Florida and Roosevelt Institute Fellow
"In this remarkable book, historian Harvey Kaye shows us the radical essence of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Seventy-five years after his death, there is still a great wrestling over FDR's legacy. Too many historians, and too many Democratic politicians, deliberately miss the point of what Roosevelt said and did. But Kaye's examination of the most brilliant communicator ever to occupy the Oval Office makes it clear that FDR was serious when he said of his elite critics: 'I welcome their hatred.'"—John Nichols, The Nation, and author of The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party