Traitor to His Class

  • by H. W. Brands
  • Narrated by Mark Deakins
  • 37 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A sweeping, magisterial biography of the man generally considered the greatest president of the 20th century, admired by Democrats and Republicans alike.Traitor to His Class sheds new light on FDR's formative years; his remarkable willingness to champion the concerns of the poor and disenfranchised; and his combination of political genius, firm leadership, and matchless diplomacy in saving democracy in America during the Great Depression and the American cause of freedom in World War II.Drawing on archival materials, public speeches, personal correspondence, and accounts by family and close associates, acclaimed best-selling historian and biographer H. W. Brands offers a compelling and intimate portrait of Roosevelt's life and career.Brands explores the powerful influence of FDR's dominating mother and the often tense and always unusual partnership between FDR and his wife, Eleanor, and her indispensable contributions to his presidency.Most of all, the book traces in breathtaking detail FDR's revolutionary efforts with his New Deal legislation to transform the American political economy in order to save it, his forceful and cagey leadership before and during World War II, and his lasting legacy in creating the foundations of the postwar international order. Traitor to His Class brilliantly captures the qualities that have made FDR a beloved figure to millions of Americans.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Too much time spent describing economics

An econ class in high school is the extent of my knowledge of the subject. I zoned out through most of the complicated descriptions and explanations. I know that the Great Depression and the New Deal had all to do with the banks, the private sector, government and so on and so forth, but I wanted a biography, not Economics 401. I wish the book discussed Eleanor a little more. I know this is FDR's biography, but she was such a big part of his life and was often involved in policy matters and was someone he discussed major issues with.
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- Andrea Pike

Heavy Dose of History

If you could sum up Traitor to His Class in three words, what would they be?

Not Brands' best.


What other book might you compare Traitor to His Class to and why?

Any of many history books. This is not my favorite HW Brands biography; I read his works on Andrew Jackson and Ben Franklin and found both much more compelling. This could be my affinity for older America, or the difference between reading and listening to a heavily detailed piece of history, but nevertheless I was never as excited for the next page of FDR as I was for the other two. It seems to me more of the predjudices and judgements of the modern man figure into Brands' analysis of the New Deal president, and figure in more favorably than they might another hundred years down the line.


Have you listened to any of Mark Deakins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but this was good narration.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I'd say this should be free to anyone that could.


Any additional comments?

Listening to mammoth recordings of detailed history is not for the faint if heart, or ear. How much did I retain?

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- Patrick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-04-2008
  • Publisher: Books on Tape