Roosevelt Sweeps Nation: FDR’s 1936 Landslide and the Triumph of the Liberal Ideal

Diversion. Sept. 2022. 544p. ISBN 9781635767773. $34.99. HIST
Presidential scholar Pietrusza (TR’s Last War) makes the most of his engrossing tale. Franklin D. Roosevelt won in a landslide in 1932, but three years later, the future no longer looked as rosy. The Supreme Court had ruled the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Agricultural Adjustment Agency unconstitutional. The economy wasn’t rebounding fast enough; unemployment was stalled at 20.1 percent. FDR’s enemies were sharpening their knives. On one side were the Du Ponts and the American Liberty League; on the other, a congeries of left leaning critics, of whom the most formidable was Louisiana’s populist rabble-rouser Huey Long. In a tight election, third-party adversaries wouldn’t have to win to bring FDR down, just siphon enough votes away from the Democrats to hand the election over to the Republicans. The loss of three to four battleground states could spell doom for the Democrats. Yet, when election day came, it was a landslide victory for president and party, aided by the Republicans’ nomination of the colorless and often clueless Alf Landon. This isn’t deep history, more the retelling of a lively story that is rife with strong personalities and blood stirring incidents.
VERDICT History bugs will find this popular history appealing.
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