Will the Real FDR Book Please Stand Up?

What book was Barack Obama referring to when he appeared on 60 Minutes on Sunday? He mentioned “a new book out about F .D. R.’s first 100 days,” but gave no author or title.

According to the NYT, this lead to a scramble to figure out which book it might be. Speculation focused on three titles:

  1.  F D R: The First Hundred Days, Anthony J. Badger
  2. Nothing to Fear: F D R’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America, by Adam Cohen (due in January)
  3. The Defining Moment: F D R’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, by Jonathan Alter

An Obama spokesperson brought an end to the debate late yesterday when it was revealed that the President-elect was referring to not just one, but two books; Jonathan Alter’s The Defining Moment and a title that didn’t even appear on the list of possibilities, F D R by Jean Edward Smith.

Below are all four titles, in order by their rankings on Amazon as of this morning:

#58 on Amazon:

The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope

by Jonathan Alter

  • Paperback: $16; 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 8, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0743246012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743246019
  • Audio CD: Unabridged edition
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America; (May 28, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 1572705531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572705531


#506 on Amazon


by Jean Edward Smith

  • Paperback: $29.95; 880 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (May 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0812970497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812970494
  • Audio CD: $34.95, Abridged 
  • Publisher: Random House Audio;  (May 15, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0739343440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739343449


#766 on Amazon
F D R: The First Hundred Days
Anthony J. Badger
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hill & Wang (February 1998)
  • ISBN-10: 0809044412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809044412

This title is currently out of stock, but the NYT says the publisher is reprinting because of demand from booksellers.


#23,651 on Amazon
Nothing to Fear: F D R’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America
by Adam Cohen
  • Hardcover: $29.95, 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (January 8, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 159420196X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201967
  • Audio CD: Unabridged; 11 Audio CDs; Library Binder Pkg; $60.79
  • Publisher: Tantor Media;  (January 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400110411

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