Unlikely Heroes: Franklin Roosevelt, His Four Lieutenants, and the World They Made


Product Details

$35.00  $32.55
St. Martin's Press
Publish Date
6.5 X 9.4 X 1.8 inches | 1.55 pounds

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About the Author

Derek Leebaert won the biennial 2020 Truman Book Award for Grand Improvisation. His previous books include Magic and Mayhem: The Delusions of American Foreign Policy from Korea to Afghanistan and To Dare and to Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations, both Washington Post Best Books of the Year. He was a founding editor of the Harvard/MIT journal International Security and is a cofounder of the National Museum of the U.S. Army. He holds a D.Phil from Oxford and lives in Washington, D.C.


"Mr. Leebaert takes a fresh tack by making his subject the Ickes-Perkins-Hopkins-Wallace bloc. ... [And] here is the crucial thing for the gossip-hungry Roosevelt, and a boon for readers of Unlikely Heroes--they were never, ever boring."
--The Wall Street Journal

"In the vein of Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals (2005), political historian Leebaert illuminates the dynamics of FDR's consequential administration by focusing on four of his lieutenants ... Leebaert sheds new light on FDR's managerial capabilities and ably demonstrates that the cultivation of diversified and resilient talent was essential to the administration's endurance."

"Leebaert thoroughly mines diaries, letters, and oral histories to deliver a fine-grained study of the ties that bound this consequential administration. It's an enlightening investigation into the alchemy of successful governance."
--Publishers Weekly

"Leebaert is good at adducing current themes in past history, including regional divisions, racism, inequality, trickle-down economics, and a politicized and obstructionist Supreme Court...A nuanced study of reformist government in action and its behind-the-scenes players."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Leebaert follows four protagonists from President Franklin Roosevelt's inner circle during the Depression. ... An intimate portrait of FDR's inner circle during the New Deal. Readers of U.S. history, economics, and political science should greatly enjoy this volume."
--Library Journal

"Constructs an entirely fresh understanding of FDR and his presidency by spotlighting the powerful, equally wounded figures whom he raised up to confront the Depression, then to beat the Axis. .By examining the lives of these four, a very different picture emerges of how Americans saved their democracy and rescued civilization overseas."
--Daily Kos

"Unlikely Heroes is the most exciting book written about FDR's presidency in decades. Finally, we see exactly how he led the nation."
--James Strock, author, Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership, Founder, Serve to Lead Group

"A brilliantly captivating portrait of Roosevelt and his four most important associates, revealing their interwoven lives and friendships. Not only does it provide a unique perspective on the twelve tumultuous years of FDR's presidency, it is full of illuminating insights into the upheavals of America today."
--Liaquat Ahamed, Pulitzer-winning author, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

"By bringing alive the friendships among FDR's key officials, Leebaert enables us to feel like insiders during that desperate time...among the many books about Roosevelt--none grants such vibrant access as does Unlikely Heroes."
--Major-General Mari K. Eder, U.S. Army (ret), former Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserves, and author of The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II