author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America
"This timely, inspiring portrait of the role of Christianity in the life and presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt helps us better understand one of the influential leaders of the twentieth century. Woolverton has made a great contribution here that should lead us to reevaluate our view of the role of faith in the progressive movement, the Democratic Party, and American politics generally, while also stoking our imagination for how Christian principles might guide us today."
author of Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter
"Endicott Peabodys dying words, You know theres no doubt but that Roosevelt is a very religious man, provide a good summation of Americas thirty-second president. This remarkable and long- overdue biography traces Franklin Roosevelts religious development from childhood through Peabodys Groton School to the presidency, during which FDR continued to serve as senior warden of St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park. Roosevelts self-description as a Christian and a Democrat comes alive in this excellent, thoroughly researched biography, a book that promises to reshape our understanding of the twentieth centurys most consequential president."
Janine Giordano Drake
University of Providence
"Rare is the opportunity to read a biography by someone who ran in the same circles as the author but who was not an acquaintance. Through a collective biography of FDRs many influences and their religious backgrounds, we learn that Franklin Roosevelt had the Social Gospel imprinted on his character. His boarding school teachers, as well as those of his wife Eleanor and his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, raised him with a strong sense of responsibility toward the less fortunate. This Social-Gospel-sense of "Christian charity" drove both his concern for the poor and his rejection of authoritarian methods of establishing justice. Woolverton and Bratt depict a man whose simple faith drove his decisions in both domestic and foreign policy. It was this faith, they suggest, that helped save the prospects for democracy in the United States."
Matthew A. Sutton
Washington State University
"Historians have not taken Franklin Roosevelts Christianity seriously enough when they analyze his response to the economic depression and then World War II. Thanks to John Woolvertons excellent new biography, they will not make this mistake again. Woolverton masterfully demonstrates that to understand the Roosevelt presidency, we need to understand how the presidents Christian conceptions of faith, hope, and love shaped his policies and his views of the world."
Alison Collis Greene
"With James D. Bratts deft revision, this study of Franklin Roosevelts religious life by respected Episcopal historian John Woolverton arrives at just the right time. Woolvertons warm but frank spiritual biography describes a president who practiced a Christianity based on hope, charity, and faith and grounded in a deep sense of mutual responsibility. This book is a reminder that American Christianity might have followed an alternative trajectory into the twenty-first century."