FDR's 1936 reelection represented his greatest political triumph. Yet the election remains largely unstudied despite the fact that critical decisions by some of the most colorful—and controversial—characters in American history make it one of the most significant ever to take place. This landmark work, the first specifically about the 1936 election, highlights the key debates, events, and personalities that epitomized the conflicted, highly charged politics of the New Deal era.
In telling its gripping tale, the book discloses the secret history of Roosevelt's New Deal. It uncovers the hidden roles that money, patronage, and power played in the campaign of 1936, underscoring the transition from the old-school politics of stump-speaking and glad-handing to a new world of professionalism marked by scientific polling, targeted advertising, and direct media. The book offers a new perspective on this critical period in American history through its use of previously unpublished private correspondence and internal memos from key players in the Roosevelt administration as well as from GOP chairman John Hamilton. These archival sources detail the nuts and bolts of running a presidential campaign during the Great Depression and reveal how money was manipulated to buy votes. Exposing the true story behind the making of modern America, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in FDR, U.S. history, politics, or the presidency.