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Summary

Robert H. Jackson was one of the giants of the Roosevelt era: an Attorney General, a still revered Supreme Court Justice and, not least important, one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's close friends and advisers. His intimate memoir of FDR, written in the early 1950s before Jackson's untimely death, has remained unpublished for fifty years. Here is that newly discovered memoir.

Written with skill and grace, this is truly a unique account of the personality, conduct, greatness of character, and common humanity of "that man in the White House," as outraged conservatives called FDR. Jackson simply but eloquently provides an insider's view of Roosevelt's presidency, including such crucial events as FDR's Court-packing plan, his battles with corporate America, his decision to seek a third term, and his bold move to aid Britain in 1940 with American destroyers. He also offers an intimate personal portrait of Roosevelt--on fishing trips, in late-night poker games, or approving legislation while eating breakfast in bed, where he routinely began his workday. We meet a president who is far-sighted but nimble in attacking the problems at hand; principled but flexible; charismatic and popular but unafraid to pick fights, take stands, and when necessary, make enemies. That Man is not simply a valuable historical document, but an engaging and insightful look at one of the most remarkable men in American history. In reading this memoir, we gain not only a new appreciation for Roosevelt, but also admiration for Jackson, who emerges as both a public servant of great integrity and skill and a wry, shrewd, and fair-minded observer of politics at the highest level.

©2003 John Q. Barrett (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Average

The author wrote more about himself in this book and his legal and political ups and downs than about Franklin Roosevelt. A few nice stories about FDR, but I would not recommend this as a must read.

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  • Jack Doe
  • 20-07-18

Great final chapter

Jackson’s address to the DOJ upon FDR’s death is eloquent and moving. Very good book overall especially (for me) the chapter relating his journal entries on a fishing trip they took.

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  • BB
  • 06-05-18

Interesting perspective on FDR, lousy narration

That Man is somewhat an assemblage from a collection of oral history recordings and autobiographical notes that Robert H. Jackson made before his death from a heart attack at the age of 62. Jackson worked for Roosevelt as Solicitor General and Attorney General before his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1941. Jackson was one of FDR's inner circle of acquaintances, someone he invited to lunch, poker games, and fishing trips, and these memoirs portray FDR from a series of different angles: as politician; as lawyer; as economist; as friend and sportsman; and as a leader. Jackson is no idolator. He is candid about Roosevelt's shortcoming while acknowledging his strengths. He is particularly effective in showing FDR's human sides and stresses his remarkable capacity for empathy, something sorely missed with our current President. The audiobook suffers greatly, however, from Mark Moseley's frequent mangling of names: Corcoran (CORK-run) comes out as "Cor-COR-un." Brandeis (BRAN-dice) comes out "BRANDY-iss." Lilienthal (LIL-ee-en-thal) comes out "Lil-ee-EN-thal." For what is otherwise a pleasant, professional narration, these mispronunciations come like a punch in the ear.

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  • Robert
  • 11-01-18

Could not listen

The author's purpose is big noting himself not discussing FDR, I gave up after an hour!