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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 19, 2001–Atlantic Monthly Press announces the publication of a new book, “The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America,” by Williams faculty James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn. In a “starred review,” Publisher’s Weekly calls their book “excellent” and writes that “Burns and Dunn succeed in approaching their subjects with grace, respect and insight. They do great justice to three remarkable lives superbly lived.” Author David McCullough wrote that “To see the three Roosevelts as a combined chronicle is to see them anew, and with greater understanding.” Burns and Dunn will appear on C-Span’s Booknotes in April.
In “The Three Roosevelts,” Burns, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his biography “Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom,” and Dunn, author of “Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light,” illuminate the intertwining lives of these three patrician leaders, who emerged from the closed society of New York’s wealthy Knickerbocker elite to become America’s most powerful advocates for social and economic justice. As Burns and Dunn follow the evolution of the Roosevelt political philosophy, they explore how Theodore’s example of dynamic leadership would inspire the careers of his distant cousin Franklin and his niece Eleanor.
The twentieth century, according to Burns and Dunn, was the Roosevelt century. From TR’s Square Deal and battle with the plutocrats of the Gilded Age, to FDR’s New Deal and wartime leadership, to Eleanor’s pivotal work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the Civil Rights Movement, their crusades dramatically reshaped the political and moral landscape of our nation. The impetus and momentum of their leadership carried over through the administrations of JFK, LBJ, and Carter&emdash;up until the rise of Reagan conservatism. For a hundred years&emdash;from 1881, when TR first ran for the New York State Assembly, until 1981, when Carter left office&emdash;the three Roosevelts charted the course of progressive reform in America. Together they set a new standard of conviction, commitment, and courage for all leaders who would follow.
Burns is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government, Emeritus, and Susan Dunn is professor of Romance languages at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.