FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
The author of a splendid, Newbery Award-winning Lincoln (1987) uses a similar approach to smother monumental figure. The result is a carefully researched biography, extended by a wealth (125) of well-chosen b&w photos and presented with clarity and precision. Roosevelt is a substantially more difficult subject than Lincoln: his most significant years spanned two historical cataclysms (the Depression and WW II); he is still (as Freedman makes clear) quite controversial; his complex, ambivalent personality was even more enigmatic than Lincoln's; and the abundance of material available about him presents a formidable challenge to any biographer. Perhaps as a result, Roosevelt's story here serum less compelling, his porsonality less vividly realized than Lincolin's. Still, this is a valuable achievement, easily the best biography of its subject available at this level.