Again I have neglected my blog for a couple of months, so I will start by listing the books that I have read since my last post.
Since reading Speaking Frankly by James F. Byrnes I decided to shift my focus from Franklin Roosevelt’s foreign policy to his domestic policy in the New Deal. I read an excellent account of the first 100 days by Adam Cohen entitled Nothing to Fear: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America.
This book profiles some of the major characters of the New Deal while telling the story of the legislation passed during the turbulent first three months of Roosevelt’s administration. Francis Perkins, Raymond Moley, Lewis Douglas, Henry Wallace and Harry Hopkins play the major roles in this drama.
I also read Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny, by Frank Freidel. This one-volume biography from 1990 is by the historian who also has written a four-volume life of the young Roosevelt. This book draws on those and many other sources to deliver a revealing portrait of this complex president.
Rarely do I start a book and not finish it. That was the case, however, with Rexford G. Tugwell’s The Brains Trust, an account by one of FDR’s closest advisers of the first campaign for president. I simply could not become engaged with this book, so I will save it for a later time.
Now I am reading about a different subject entirely: Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal. The book is John Dean’s The Nixon Defense, in which the author relates in excruciating detail the content of seemingly every Nixon conversation concerning Watergate from the day of the break-in until the taping system was turned off. This book reveals Richard Nixon in all his vulgar, profane glory. If you have a low opinion of Richard Nixon now, this book will do nothing to dissuade you from that position.
To change the subject abruptly, I want to discuss the comments on my blog, although some of the comments have no relation whatever to the content of my blog. First off, I do not know why every email that I receive with a comment refers to the title of my first blog post instead of to the name of the blog. I suspect that all of the people or organizations who have commented have found the blog through some sort of search and have not read past the first post.
Next, I have been pained to notice that, while I have received some positive comments, not one of them has dealt with or even referred to the actual content of any of the posts. I knew that the content would appeal to a limited audience and would seem arcane to most people. I had just hoped that by now someone searching for Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill or Joseph Stalin (to name the most notable subjects of the posts) might have stumbled on my blog and been inspired to comment on it. Maybe that will happen yet.
Please watch for my next post. Perhaps I will have more to say about John Dean’s book.