A Team of Rebels by ProQuest


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									          A                                    shows that this misses the mark. FDR’s
                                               ear was open to a variety of people inside
                                                                                              ing the exact opposite of what he had
                                                                                              apparently agreed to. Eleanor Roosevelt

        Team                                   and outside of his Administration and
                                               party. The real lines of authority and influ-
                                                                                              noticed Churchill’s frustration, no doubt
                                                                                              in empathy, and explained to him that

      of Rebels                                ence in the Roosevelt White House defied
                                               the organization chart. By concentrating
                                                                                              “when Franklin says ‘yes, yes, yes’ it
                                                                                              doesn’t mean he’s agreeing, it just means
                                               on the roles of key Presidential appoint-      he’s listening.” Secretary of War Henry
Nothing to Fear: FDR’s Inner                   ees—Raymond Moley, Lewis W. Doug-              L. Stimson compared trying to pin down
Circle and the Hundred Days                    las, Henry A. Wallace, Frances Perkins,        Roosevelt to “chasing a vagrant beam
That Created Modern America                    and Harry L. Hopkins—Cohen dem-                of sunshine around a vacant room.”
            By Adam Cohen                      onstrates how these underlings shaped              Cohen argues that FDR’s thoughts do
               Penguin.                        the legendary Hundred Days through             not really matter. He points out that dur-
            372 pp. $29.95.                    “force of will and talent,” and how they       ing the 1932 campaign Roosevelt con-
                                               pushed the New Deal in directions FDR          demned Herbert Hoover for overseeing
             Reviewed by                       never anticipated.                             “the greatest spending Administration in
         David Eisenbach                           In addition, his approach avoids the       peacetime in all our history.” He prom-
    Professor of political history,            pitfall of trying to explain the mysterious    ised to balance the budget with “a stern
   Columbia University; coauthor,              FDR. Historians have trouble with Roo-         and unremitting policy of living within
     “The Kingmakers: How the                  sevelt for three interrelated reasons: He      our income.” He supported the 1932 Dem-
   Media Threatens Our Security                was temperamentally resistant to any ide-      ocratic Party platform pledge to slash
        and Our Democracy”                     ological commitment; he did not write          the budget by 25 per cent and his first
                                               much down; and he had no problem si-           legislative initiatives were cost-cutting
    YPE FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT into             multaneously holding and advocating            measures. His main economic adviser
T    a keyword search on Amazon.com
and 46,000 titles pop up. Most of those
                                               contradictory ideas. I think of FDR as
                                               the consummate cocktail party host—
                                                                                              said that initially Roosevelt was as “fros-
                                                                                              tily thrifty” as Calvin Coolidge. But the
books try to answer the essential ques-        serving martinis, telling stories, listen-     author illustrates in great detail that
tions: Was the New Deal a revolution or        ing affably, always careful never to make      the President’s economic views had less
a reform? Was FDR a rebel or a shrewd          anyone uncomfortable.                          impact on the ultimate direction of the
conservative? Was the New Deal a well              That is the way he worked. He wel-         New Deal than the views of a few Left-
thought-out plan or a bunch of ad hoc          comed a constant flow of bureaucrats,          of-Center subordinates.
improvisations? Adam Cohen’s Nothing           Congressmen, businessmen, and local                  NLIKE FDR, those aides had strong
to Fear convincingly argues that FDR
was neither a rebel nor a conservative. He
                                               pols, each brimming with ideas and re-
                                               quests. If the guests failed to grab his
                                                                                               U    ideological commitments and, equal-
                                                                                              ly as important for the historian, paper
was a pragmatic improviser whose New           attention the
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