5. For the Survival of DemocracyJust wait till the biography comes out...
By Alonzo L. Hamby
Free Press, 2004
No single president is more important to American foreign policy in our time than Franklin D. Roosevelt, and there is no better account of FDR's stout defense of democracy against the twin dangers of Nazism and Soviet Communism than Alonzo L. Hamby's great work. His thesis concerns the extent to which the Depression blighted the modern world by scuttling post-World War I prosperity, weakening democratic capitalism in Europe and America at its moment of greatest peril, and rendering a second military cataclysm inevitable. FDR had to contend with the Depression while awakening his countrymen to Hitler's menace and stiffening the spines of European democrats. The consensus on the New Deal remains unsettled; but Roosevelt's global leadership in the late 1930s and throughout World War II made America the superpower it remains.
(By the way, Beale is not bad on TR, but I prefer either Frederick W. Marks III, Velvet on Iron: The Diplomacy of Theodore Roosevelt (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979), or Richard H. Collin, Theodore Roosevelt, Culture, Diplomacy, and Expansion: A New View of American Imperialism (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985).
If you want something shorter, I have an article coming out in White House Studies called "The Rooseveltian Tradition: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and George W. Bush." It is an extension and revision of this little essay, with lots of footnotes.)