A Year in Books/Day 198: The Roosevelts An American Saga

  • Title: The Roosevelts An American Saga
  • Author: Peter Collier with David Horowitz
  • Year Published: 1994 (Simon & Schuster)
  • Year Purchased: Late 1990s
  • Source: An ex
  • About: This book is exhaustive; comprehensive; and any other applicable word over-used by critics and reviewers. To horribly paraphrase Joni Mitchell, after reading An American Saga I can honestly say that I have looked at the Roosevelts from both sides now. (*groan*) It’s a biography of the entire family, radiating from Teddy and FDR, to be sure, but giving flesh and voice to all of the members. Neither man, after all, was created in a laboratory; nor are the two lines of the family treated as barely associated branches, but as richly interconnecting pieces of a large and complex puzzle. This is a classic.
  • Motivation: I’ve been intrigued by FDR since that day in 6th grade history when I drew his name out of the assignment hat. My best friend, Jessy, was not so  lucky: she was forced to research Ronald Reagan, the then-sitting head of state. At least neither of us had the task of padding out a report on William Henry Harrison, which was probably an F waiting to happen. Small mercies, people. Small mercies.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 37: He was curious about how things worked. He captured insects, rodents, and other specimens and took them apart on makeshift dissecting tables, almost as if by opening them up for examination he might better understand what was wrong with his own machinery. He drew, catalogued, and described what he saw. At the age of eight, when his mother threw out the corpses of two mice he had stored in the icebox for future autopsy, he accused her, in a tiny indignant voice, of “defeating the ends of science.”

    English: William Henry Harrison: ninth Preside...

    English: William Henry Harrison: ninth President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Sorry, Will, but I’m glad I was assigned FDR as a book report subject back in the sixth grade. We’re still friends, right?

  • Happiness Scale: 9 1/2