No president since the founders has done more to shape the character of American government than Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And no president since Lincoln has served through darker or more difficult times.
Noted historian Alan Brinkley explores the story and legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Sunday, September 23, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
A Roosevelt biographer and an expert on the New Deal, Brinkley finds in FDR an aristocrat who enjoyed a childhood of privilege yet developed an almost uncanny ability to communicate effectively with people of all kinds.
Roosevelt's presidency - the longest in American history - forever changed the face of international diplomacy, the American party system, and the government's role in global and domestic policy.
Brinkley provides a concise look at Roosevelt's sphinx-like character and his achievements, blending FDR's personal life with his professional one and providing a lens into the president's struggles with polio and his somewhat distant relationship with his wife, Eleanor.
Roosevelt led the United States through the worst economic crisis in the nation's history and through the greatest and most terrible war ever recorded.
Brinkley has taught for more than 20 years at Columbia University, serving as university provost from 2003 to 2009. Among his books are Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression (winner of the National Book Award); The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War; Liberalism and Its Discontents; and The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (winner of the Ambassador Book Prize and the Sperber Prize). He has also written the short biographies Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
Admission is free. A 1:30 p.m. light reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.
The event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series on the American Presidency co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute and co-sponsored by KCUR's Up to Date.