Roosevelt's Navy

The Education of a Warrior President, 1882-1920

FDR as never seen before: His formative years as Woodrow Wilson’s Assistant Secretary of the Navy, evolving from political neophyte to visionary leader.

This is the story of a very different Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the one traditionally found in the history books. This is a much younger, untested, pre-polio FDR, learning the complexities of gaining and exercising power as Woodrow Wilson’s ambitious Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He arrives in Washington as an inexperienced political amateur possessed of little more than a famous name, but by the time he leaves the Navy eight years later he will have transformed himself into a seasoned professional, wise to the ways of power, a visionary ready and eager to take his place on the world stage.

FDR’s early years in Washington also include the most tumultuous period in his personal life, when, caught in a difficult marriage, he is forced to choose between his own personal happiness and his political ambitions. He must deal at close quarters with Congress, with the Administration, and with the military. Lastly, but crucially, he confronts himself, learning something about his potential, his limitations, and his growing ambition to become president of the United States.

James Tertius de Kay has written a number of well-received books of American naval history: Chronicles of the Frigate MacedonianMonitor; and A Rage for Glory. He lives in Pawcatuck, Connecticut.

"Long before he steered the country through both the Depression and World War II, FDR was a headstrong fellow who knew what he wanted, played for keeps, and mastered the art of taking charge.A highly readable, ultimately credible biography of an ambitious, energetic risk-taker."

– Kirkus Reviews

"A rousing maritime history. The real life equivalent of a Patrick O’Brian novel."

– Boston Globe

"Gripping suspense and excitement. History that reads like a historical novel."

– New York Times Book Review