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FDR: The powers and principles of a president, and the politics of rich and poor.

By Rich Fisher


Tulsa, Oklahoma – On today's show, we hear about the epochal presidency of FDR. Our guest is historian H.W. "Bill" Brands, whose recently published biography, "Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt" (Doubleday), was one of the most acclaimed nonfiction books of 2008. Brands has taught at Vanderbilt and Texas A&M, and is currently on the history faculty at the University of Texas at Austin. He's written many books, and these have touched on many different aspects of American history. (Among his earlier works are the biographies "Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times," "The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," and "T.R.: The Last Romantic.") Brands and our host Rich Fisher speak in some detail about FDR's remarkable success --- and about both his style and effectiveness as a leader --- throughout the national economic nightmare that was the 1930s and early '40s. They also compare and contrast FDR and President Obama on various points. As Brands remarks early in their discussion: "The secret of Roosevelt's success was not that his policies cured the Depression --- in fact, they didn't. But what they did do was to dispel the despair that many Americans felt during the Depression. Americans looked at Roosevelt and they said, 'Here is somebody who understands our plight.'"