The Roosevelt Myth

By John T. Flynn

Synopsis: Written in 1948 by a journalist who had carefully documented and followed the career of Franklin D. Roosevelt, this book is a scathing, eviscerating critique of President Roosevelt and his administration for his entire tenure as President (1933-1945).

Strong Points: This book covers so much in excellent detail. The author builds his solid case very well. Roosevelt’s cluelessness with regards to economic matters, his deliberate inaction within his first 100 days to allow the Depression to worsen and destroy Hoover’s credibility, the myriad of unseasoned intellectual crackpots and communists that surrounded his administration, the failure of his New Deal programs one after another, his utterly reckless spending and intervention which created favored groups and interests feeding off the graft of government, his imitation of Mussolini’s fascism in his New Deal programs, his machinations to secure for himself an unprecedented and arrogant third (and fourth) term in office, his capitulations to Stalin which cost so many millions their freedom, the deliberate lies to the American people regarding Roosevelt’s shocking health condition at the time of his fourth term election, and many other things, are all exposed. The author utterly destroys any semblance of the myth that Roosevelt was any sort of boon to America.

Weak Points: Since the book is written in 1948, there are many phrases used that we would not be readily familiar with. On at least one occasion it gave me an inaccurate impression of what the author was saying, and I only discovered my error by reading further. Also, the author could have been more dutiful about giving dates of events. Names of then-recent government officials were sometimes given with little or no introduction. Of course, these things are reflections of the fact that, to the author, what he was writing was still recent history. To us, however, it is quite less familiar and removed in time.

Interesting: 4/5

Must Read: 3.9/5

Overall: 4/5

Selected Quotes: “He had charged ahead and around, like an amateur soldier at a riot, pushing and hauling and driving in every direction, without realizing quite what he was doing. Yet out of his numerous sallies a fairly clear pattern of behavior began to appear. It was always easy to sell him a plan that involved giving away government money. It was always easy to interest him in a plan which would confer some special benefit upon some special class in the population in exchange for their votes. He was sure to be interested in any scheme that had the appearance of novelty and he would seize quickly upon a plan that would startle and excite people by its theatrical qualities. That these several projects should be in eternal hostility to each other was of no moment. As a social physician he gave to his patient eagerly one pill for diarrhea and another for constipation, one solution for high blood pressure and another for low blood pressure, one to produce fever and one to allay it, stimulants and sedatives, prophylactics and poisons, each eagerly adopted on the suggestion of some quack with a theory to exploit or an organized group to benefit or delight. This was Roosevelt. And it landed him in 1938 back pretty much where he began and without a single compound left in his little satchel of remedies save spending and more spending.” (p. 127).

“The figure of Roosevelt exhibited before the eyes of our people is a fiction. There was no such being as that noble, selfless, hard-headed, wise and farseeing combination of philosopher, philanthropist and warrior which has been fabricated out of pure propaganda and which a small collection of dangerous cliques in this country are using to advance their own evil ends.” (p. 419).


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