Roosevelt, A Democrat's Viewpoint
THIS DEMOCRATIC ROOSEVELT. The Life Story of "F. D." By Leland M. Rose and Allen W. Grobin. New York. E. P. Dutton. 1932. $2.50.
IT is a sad commentary on the political campaigns of this country when a candidate for the Presidency is almost forced to allow biographies of this type to be published and circulated. The jacket of this book says that Governor Roosevelt himself road the proofs. If he actually did his tongue must have amused caused callouses in his check. It is frankly a campaign biography the second to appear purporting to give all the facts on the life of the Squire of Hyde Park, but in good romantic fashion.
The main purpose of the book, it would seem, is to demonstrate two of Mr. Roosevelt's qualities; his unlimited energy and his desire to be fair in all things. A few excerpts from the chapter on his Harvard days will serve to show to what absurd extremes the authors go to illustrate their points. They give a list of the most prominent professors of the time James, Shaler, Briggs, Palmer, Norton, and Lowell and attempts to prove that the young Roosevelt was directly influenced by every one of them. Then, in such an atmosphere Franklin revelled. His interest was whetted to cutting edge and he sliced his way with all the Hyde Park-Groton directness straight to the heart of his subjects, down to fundamentals at the first stroke." A few word changes and that could pass for a description of an early morning golf game.
His courage is illustrated by the fact that as President of the CRIMSON he dared to say about the Maine Football game: "University team practically outplayed in discreditable game." The authors comment, "The astounded college awoke. Gossip carried the news of the revived CRIMSON throughout the student body and town. Well! . . HM! . . Well! Well! . . . So the dead have arisen! "His clubs were "like fabled grains of sand; but the Political Club, the Social Service society, and the Memorial society are carefully added to swell the list.
The chapter on Harvard indicates the general toner of the book. A definite effort to humanize the Governor is also evident throughout and we learn, among other things, that he doesn't like bananas, a statement which will certainly keep the man at the fruitstand from voting for him.
It is not the purpose of this review to discuss the political qualifications of Mr. Roosevelt but it is difficult to see how a book of this kind can aid in his progress. Mr. Roosevelt's life is dramatic and important enough to make it the subject of an interesting account later on. Fortunately, his later biographer will not have to turn to the present book for reference.