Before the Trumpet
Young Franklin Roosevelt, 1882-1905
By Geoffrey C. Ward
Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780804173339, 390pp.
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
List Price: $16.95*
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Before Pearl Harbor, before polio and his entry into politics, FDR was a handsome, pampered, but strong-willed youth, the center of a rarefied world. In "Before the Trumpet, "the award-winning historian Geoffrey C. Ward transports the reader to that world--Hyde Park on the Hudson and Campobello Island, Groton and Harvard and the Continent--to recreate as never before the formative years of the man who would become the 20th century's greatest president. Here, drawn from thousands of original documents (many never previously published), is a richly-detailed, intimate biography, its central figure surrounded by a colorful cast that includes an opium smuggler and a pious headmaster; Franklin's distant cousin, Theodore and his remarkable mother, Sara; and the still-more remarkable young woman he wooed and won, his cousin Eleanor. This is a tale that would grip the reader even if its central character had not grown up to be FDR.