Since so much support today on ‘government social reform’ seems to hinge off notions started with the ‘new deal’, I took great interest in tracking this book down after it was mentioned by a local WJR radio host. My copy of the Roosevelt Myth showed up from Detroit Public Library via the MEL interlibrary loan. I thought it worthy to post some of the comments from the forward in hopes it might steer others toward looking into what it has to say.
I have included a link above that I found this morning which appears to be a complete online version of the book as well as a link to Amazon.com where you can order a copy for yourself.
The Roosevelt Myth – FORWARD
THIS BOOK IS IN NO SENSE A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. It is rather a critical account of that episode in American politics known as the New Deal. As to the President, it is an account of an image projected upon the popular mind which came to be known as Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is the author’s conviction that this image did not at all correspond to the man himself and that it is now time to correct the lineaments of this synthetic figure created by highly intelligent propaganda, aided by mass illusion and finally enlarged and elaborated out of all reason by the fierce moral and mental distrubances of the war. The purpose of this book, therefore, is to present the Franklin D. Roosevelt of the years 1932 to 1945 in his normal dimensions, reduced in size to agree with reality.
The war played havoc with history-writing after 1940. Not only did a great curtain of secrecy come down upon performers in the drama of the war, but their portraits and their actions were presented to us through the movies, the radio and the press upon a heroic scale as part of the business of selling the warrior as and the statesmen and the war to the people. Their blunders and their quarrels were blotted out of the picture. Only the bright features were across the vast stage of the war, uttering eloquent appeals to the nation, challenging the enemy in flaming words, striding like heroes and talking like gods.
The moment has come when the costumes, the grease paint, the falsely colored scenery, the technicolored spotlights and all the other artifices of make-up should be put aside and, in the interest of truth, the solid facts about the play and the players revealed to the people.
A whole 20-foot shelf of books has appeared glorifying the character and career of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition a large number of men and women who were associated with this administrations have published their own versions of their several parts in those administrations. And while these contain some incidental criticisms, the chief effect of all these books is to feed the legend of the world conqueror and remodeler. Curiously, only two or three critical works have appeared and these touch only special sectors of the whole story. It seemed to me there was room for at least one critical book covering the whole period of Roosevelt’s terms as President.