Man of Destiny -- FDR and the Making of the American Century by Alonzo Hamby, BasicBooks '15, $35, 500 pages, ASIN #0465028608. Index, notes, unillustrated.
From the dust jacket:
"No president looms larger in 20th century American history than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and few life stories can match his for sheer drama. Following in the footsteps of his Republican cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, FDR devoted himself to politics as a Democrat and a true man of the people. Eventually setting his sights on the presidency, he was elected to office in 1932 by a nation mired in the Great Depression and desperate for revival.
"As the distinguished historian, Alonzo Hamby argues in this authoritative biography, FDR's record as president was more mixed than we are often led to believe. The New Deal provided much-needed assistance to millions of Americans, but failed to restore prosperity, and while FDR became an outstanding commander-in-chief during World War II, his plans for the postwar world were seriously flawed.
"No less perceptive is Hamby's account of FDR's private life, which explores the dynamics of his marriage and his romance with his wife's secretary, Lucy Mercer. Hamby documents FDR's final months in intimate detail, claiming that his perseverance, despite his serious illness, not only shaped his presidency, but must be counted as one of the 20th century's great feats of endurance."
Author Alonzo Hamby is Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Ohio University. He is the author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman, among other books. He lives in Athens, OH.
Cherokee Kid -- Will Rogers, Tribal Identity, and the Making of an American Icon by Amy M. Ware, UKansas Press '15, 317 pages, ASIN #0700621008. Index, bibliography, notes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
"Was Will Rogers Really an Indian?
"This, the most common question I am asked in regard to my research, elucidates in a variety of ways why this book is important to the study of American Indian celebrity," writes author Amy M. Ware in her new work. "The comedian, actor, journalist and political pundit was indeed American Indian, as most books on Rogers mention, however briefly. What distinguishes this book from most other texts on Rogers is my attempt to show -- that is, to deepen, refine, contextualize, and interrogate -- what those ties meant to Rogers, why they were significant to U.S. popular culture during his lifetime, and how they demonstrate the importance of tribal specificity in the study of Native and American cultural histories.
"The rub is this: Rogers wasn't only an American Indian; he was also a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. My exploration of the complex interplay of this distinction -- between American Indian and Cherokee, in this case -- reveals still-common assumptions regarding Native authenticity in the history of American popular culture.
"These tenacious expectations, which persist despite significant academic clamoring, have denied Rogers's full inclusion in the canon of Native history. He simply didn't act the part. My approach to Rogers, I hope, exemplifies one way scholars might use tribal histories and cultures to broaden and more deeply understand Native American influence on U.S. popular culture."
Author Amy M. Ware holds her M.A. in American Indian Studies from UCLA and her Ph.D. in American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.
The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg: From Isolation to International Engagement by Lawrence S. Kaplan, UKentucky Press '15, $45. 312 pages, ASIN #0813160553. Index, bibliography, notes, two appendices, Grouping of b&w images.
From the back cover:
"A staunch Republican, U.S. Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg (1884-1951) was known in his early career for his fervent anti-interventionism. After World War II., however, he joined statesmen such as George Kennan, Dean Acheson, and John Foster Dulles in promoting and defining a new internationalist foreign policy under President Harry S. Truman. Vandenberg became a key player in the development of the United Nations and NATO as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during 1947 and 1948. He also helped rally support for the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, and his leadership contributed to a short lived era of congressional bipartartisanship regarding international relations.
"In The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Lawrence S. Kaplan offers the first critical biography of this important but understudied figure, exploring his crucial role in moving the nation from an isolationist past to an internationalist future in the 20th century. He demonstrates how Vandenberg's story provides a window on the political and cultural changes taking place in America as the country assumed a radically different role in the world, and makes a seminal contribution to the history of U.S. foreign policy during the initial years of the Cold War.
Author Lawrence S. Kaplan is emeritus director of the Lyman L. Lemniztzer Center for NATO and European Union Studies at Kent State University and a professorial lecturer in history at Georgetown University. He has written or edited more than two dozen books.