Charles Wheeler

The American Engima

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1280pp £30 order from our bookshop

That Man: An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D Roosevelt

By

Oxford University Press 290pp £20 order from our bookshop

IN A PREFACE to this monumental biography Conrad Black pays tribute to his publisher’s editor, William Whitworth. Their dealings, he tells us, were often abrasive, and conducted entirely by e-mail. He hopes that their intense relationship will eventually lead to an actual meeting. Intriguing. I wonder whether a hard-pressed Whitworth might have suggested cuts. If so, he was overruled. Black’s opus is defiantly, self-indulgently long, and for the most part a painstaking recital of facts, culled from the record of a period the author is not old enough to remember.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It is one of those nice linguistic ironies that English should have attempted to make sex respectable by clothing… ,
    • 'He was to my mind the father of the idea that journalism – yes, even journalism – can have a moral dimension to it… ,
    • RT : Feeling old, as exhumes a piece I wrote 37 years ago. But a joy to see Kathy O’S there too. Here’s why:… ,
    • 'Enough of his character remains just out of reach for Barnes to relish the challenge of imagining him.' Patrick M… ,
    • RT : I did a thing about the new Penguin Book Of Oulipo for this month’s Literary Review: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Moore’s work has been so influential that the former ministers who provided him with much of his information now r… ,
    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,