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From the Publisher"The New York Daily News has confirmed Obama was referring to Jonathan Alter's The Defining Moment. (In fact, I'd told CNN's Larry King that I'd heard Obama was reading Alter's book a few weeks ago.) I could not be happier or more impressed. Alter has a first-class writing style and a first-class sense of the moment. The book, published in 2006, was not intended as a veiled memorandum of advice for the 44th president, but in some ways it may have become just that. Alter recounts the story of an exuberantly hopeful new president — winning the White House after overcoming enormous obstacles. As he prepares to take office, the ongoing economic collapse worsens. Convinced the Depression was caused by incompetent Republican economic theories, he refuses to be used as a prop. The failed Republican administration wanted to convince the public that the Depression was a lightning strike: random, unavoidable, and tragic. FDR knew it was a case of arson — and he made sure the country understood the man-made causes of the collapse."
— Paul Begala, Daily Beast
"Jonathan Alter's The Defining Moment is an extraordinarily vivid account of a remarkable moment in American history. It is also a rich and perceptive examination of how Franklin Roosevelt transformed the presidency. This book should be of interest to everyone who cares about the New Deal, and also to everyone who wants to understand the character of American politics."
— Alan Brinkley, author of The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War
"The Defining Moment is a riveting account of the first hundred days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. Alter bewitches readers in this fast-moving story, often poignant, sometimes funny, of how Roosevelt changed the direction of American history."
— David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln
"A book like this, revealing the power of presidential speeches, should be read — in FDR's repetition for emphasis — 'again and again and again.'"
— William Safire, New York Times columnist emeritus
"The Defining Moment should be required reading for every president, every student of leadership, and anyone who appreciates narrative history at its finest."
— Richard Norton Smith, author of An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover
"In The Defining Moment, one of the shrewdest political observers of our time turns his spotlight on the man who may have been the ablest American politician of all time."
— Geoffrey C. Ward, author of Before the Trumpet and A First-Class Temperament
"Alter's account has a refreshing buoyancy, not unlike its protagonist...describing Roosevelt's missteps as honestly as his triumphs, it succeeds in bringing a remarkable man back to life."
— Ted Widmer, The New York Times Book Review
"Persuasive and sparkling...Alter's freshness and keen eye make this a joyful read....He also drives home an argument essential in these times: When democracy is threatened, our best leaders resist the temptation to run roughshod over Congress and the Constitution."
— David Gergen, The Boston Globe
"Alter is at his best reconstructing the political mood and maneuverings of the perilous winter of 1932-33. A gripping read."
— Gary Gerstle, Chicago Tribune
"Well-written and tirelessly researched."
— Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch