There is no doubt that the 20th century has produced some of the most influential people in American History. While some believe that wealthy people do not have a sense of what real life is like for the common man, the Roosevelts did manage to keep abreast of events that affected everyone regardless of status. One member of the Roosevelt family in particular, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made great strides in rebuilding the nation during a time when it was at one of its weakest points. Many casual scholars know about what FDR accomplished during his four terms as President, but there are few who understand exactly what his political contributions were to America and the world. This is why author Allan Winkler wrote his book FDR and the Making of Modern America; it describes the public and political contributions he made during the first half of the 20th century.
In the book, Winkler mainly discusses FDR’s contributions from the time he contracted polio until his death in 1945. The main portion of the book focuses on the formulation of the New Deal during the Great Depression and whether or not it was truly successful. According to the book, it is the package which gave birth to many federally-funded programs that focused on aid and creation of job rehabilitation to ‘…get America working again” (Winkler, 2006). For those who are interested in studying 20th century American History, this book is a valuable tool. It gives insight into many of the programs created to quell the effects of the Great Depression as well as the decision to involve America in World War II. It is a testament to the public and political workings of FDR and his Presidency.
There are, however, issues with the book. Winkler does not focus on the accomplishments of FDR before he contracted polio, which may give readers the mistaken impression that he did not make any type of impression before the age of 40. This is not accurate, but it is still unfortunate that the author could not have included more of FDR’s earlier accomplishments so readers could fully appreciate the man and his public persona (Winkler, 2006). It is also unfortunate that the book seems to leave out a great deal of FDR’s foreign policy work, but there is some controversy surrounding it. There are conflicting reports about FDR’s involvement in World War II and whether or not he knew beforehand so that he could involve America in the fighting instead of maintaining an isolationist attitude. This near-omission of foreign affairs is appropriate for this book because of the author’s desire to bring focus to the creation and implementation of the New Deal. It is considered FDR’s greatest accomplishment during his Presidency.
In summary, the book written by Winkler is an excellent tool for teaching people about FDR’s later accomplishments as well as his greatest domestic accomplishment, which is the New Deal. As previously stated, there is no doubt that the 20th century has produced some of the most influential people in American History. FDR is one of the greatest produced during this time period of American History. The Roosevelts did manage to prove them able to keep abreast of events that affected everyone regardless of status, such as the Great Depression and the effects of polio on patients everywhere. Franklin D. Roosevelt made great strides in rebuilding the nation specifically with the New Deal during a time when it was at one of its weakest points which is known as the Great Depression. This book will help a wide variety of scholars as well as lay people understand specifically what the New Deal was and how it helped America to recover economically as well as spiritually during a time of great crisis.