Books by Rebecca Larsen

Released: Oct. 1, 1991

In a biography of a president who reshaped 20th-century America, Larsen paints a well-rounded portrait from both the personal and the political sides. Detractors as well as supporters have their say, and failures and inconsistencies are properly noted—though longtime aides like Frances Perkins are liberally quoted as primary sources for Roosevelt's personality. The reading level here is slightly higher than in Russell Freedman's biography (1990); there's less visual appeal but considerably more detail on political battles, and Larsen is clearer on some of Roosevelt's character flaws. The style is appropriately serious, and the author brings out some of the passions that inflamed politics at the time. Unfortunately, she identifies Father Coughlin and Huey Long as pressuring Roosevelt from the left, a misleading categorization of these anti-Semitic jingoists, and doesn't mention that this was the only period when the Communist Party of the US had much influence on American political life. Still, fine for public and high-school libraries, especially where interest in politics is high. Photos are clustered in a center insert; no political cartoons, diagrams, or maps. Source notes; good bibliography; index. (Biography. YA) Read full book review >