The Man He Became
How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency
By James Tobin
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9780743265157, 336pp.)
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
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With a searching new analysis of primary sources, NBCC award winner James Tobin reveals how FDR’s fight against polio transformed him from a callow aristocrat into the energetic, determined statesman who would rally the nation in the Great Depression and lead it through World War II.
When polio paralyzed Franklin Roosevelt at thirty-nine, people wept to think that the young man of golden promise must live out his days as a helpless invalid. He never again walked on his own. But in just over a decade, he had regained his strength and seized the presidency.
This was the most remarkable comeback in the history of American politics. And, as author James Tobin shows, it was the pivot of Roosevelt’s life—the triumphant struggle that tempered and revealed his true character. With enormous ambition, canny resourcefulness, and sheer grit, FDR willed himself back into contention and turned personal disaster to his political advantage. Tobin’s dramatic account of Roosevelt’s ordeal and victory offers central insights into the forging of one of our greatest presidents.
James Tobin is an associate professor of journalism at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A former prizewinning reporter, he earned a PhD in history from the University of Michigan. His first book, Ernie Pyle’s War (Free Press), won the National Book Critics Circle award.
In The Man He Became, historian James Tobin says, despite misimpressions to the contrary, Americans of Franklin Roosevelt's day were well-aware of his disability â�� it was an important part of the personal narrative that helped him win the presidency. More at NPR.org
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