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The Wars of the Roosevelts : The Ruthless Rise of America's Greatest Political Family
by William J. Mann


Overview -

The award-winning author presents a provocative, thoroughly modern revisionist biographical history of one of America s greatest and most influential families the Roosevelts exposing heretofore unknown family secrets and detailing complex family rivalries with his signature cinematic flair.  Read more...


 
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More About The Wars of the Roosevelts by William J. Mann
 
 
 
Overview

The award-winning author presents a provocative, thoroughly modern revisionist biographical history of one of America s greatest and most influential families the Roosevelts exposing heretofore unknown family secrets and detailing complex family rivalries with his signature cinematic flair.

Drawing on previously hidden historical documents and interviews with the long-silent "illegitimate" branch of the family, William J. Mann paints an elegant, meticulously researched, and groundbreaking group portrait of this legendary family. Mann argues that the Roosevelts rise to power and prestige was actually driven by a series of intense personal contest that at times devolved into blood sport. His compelling and eye-opening masterwork is the story of a family at war with itself, of social Darwinism at its most ruthless in which the strong devoured the weak and repudiated the inconvenient.

Mann focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt, who, he argues, experienced this brutality firsthand, witnessing her Uncle Theodore cruelly destroy her father, Elliott his brother and bitter rival for political expediency. Mann presents a fascinating alternate picture of Eleanor, contending that this "worshipful niece" in fact bore a grudge against TR for the rest of her life, and dares to tell the truth about her intimate relationships without obfuscations, explanations, or labels.

Mann also brings into focus Eleanor s cousins, TR s children, whose stories propelled the family rivalry but have never before been fully chronicled, as well as her illegitimate half-brother, Elliott Roosevelt Mann, who inherited his family s ambition and skill without their name and privilege. Growing up in poverty just miles from his wealthy relatives, Elliott Mann embodied the American Dream, rising to middle-class prosperity and enjoying one of the very few happy, long-term marriages in the Roosevelt saga. For the first time, The Wars of the Roosevelts also includes the stories of Elliott s daughter and grandchildren, and never-before-seen photographs from their archives.

Deeply psychological and finely rendered, illustrated with sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs, The Wars of the Roosevelts illuminates not only the enviable strengths but also the profound shame of this remarkable and influential family.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062383334
  • ISBN-10: 0062383337
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: December 2016
  • Page Count: 624


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Presidents & Heads of State
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Historical - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-10-24
  • Reviewer: Staff

Celebrity biographer Mann (Tinseltown) extends his reach to politics with a chronicle of the Roosevelts that spans the presidencies of both Teddy and Franklin. Mann posits that the two Roosevelt clans, that of Oyster Bay (Teddys branch) and that of Hyde Park (F.D.R.s branch), were for the first half of the 20th century locked in combat for political ascendency. Uninterested in the substantive policies of the Roosevelts, Mann instead depicts a family whose members are defined by single-minded personal and political ambitions, awash in dysfunction that includes betrayals, rampant alcoholism, suicide, affairs, divorces, unhappy marriages, illegitimate children, the abandonment of familial loyalties, and more traditional political dirty tricks. Mann also speculates, based on sound sources, that Eleanor had a long-lived same-sex relationship and another possible physical relationship with a younger male protégé while first lady. Mann is an accomplished and persuasive writer, and he builds affecting portraits of his players that generally support his underlying themes. His weakness lies in his inability to leave unmined any Roosevelt family peccadillo. Also, Manns choice to emphasize the Roosevelt family dynamics and virtually ignore the contemporaneous historic events may leave readers with a sense of incompleteness. Agent: Malaga Baldi, Malaga Baldi Literary. (Dec.)

 
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