Geoffrey Ward’s “A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt” was published in 1989, four years after the publication of its predecessor volume “Before the Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt.” Ward is a historian, author, screenwriter and frequent collaborator with Ken Burns who recently directed Ward’s PBS documentary “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.”
This 799 page sequel covers Roosevelt’s life from his marriage in 1905 (where “Before the Trumpet” concludes) to his election as governor of New York in 1928. Given this span of his life, there is understandably more emphasis on Roosevelt’s character and personal relationships and less focus on his political philosophy. But where FDR was often peripheral (or entirely absent) from large swaths of this book’s prequel, he is undeniably the center of attention here.
“A First-Class Temperament” is exquisitely written and provides a richness of detail rarely found in biographies; to…
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