Roosevelt and the Holocaust

( 2 )

Overview

There is a great debate among historians about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's actions during the Holocaust. Was FDR the hero that defeated the Germans, or did he turn a blind eye to the plight of the Jews as long as he possibly could? In Roosevelt and the Holocaust, Robert Beir analyzes specific actions and legislation to get at the truth behind Roosevelt's role in the Holocaust. Beir has a unique perspective. He is a Jew who was raised during the extreme anti-Semitism of the Great Depression. Having witnessed the ...

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Overview

There is a great debate among historians about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's actions during the Holocaust. Was FDR the hero that defeated the Germans, or did he turn a blind eye to the plight of the Jews as long as he possibly could? In Roosevelt and the Holocaust, Robert Beir analyzes specific actions and legislation to get at the truth behind Roosevelt's role in the Holocaust. Beir has a unique perspective. He is a Jew who was raised during the extreme anti-Semitism of the Great Depression. Having witnessed the fruits of the New Deal firsthand, Beir became a Roosevelt scholar. It wasn't until later in life, when confronted by a student about Roosevelt's role in the Holocaust, that Beir began to research this topic intensely. Beir ultimately concludes that Roosevelt acted not out of anti-Semitism, nor out of moral outrage over the plight of the Jews. Rather he acted in the way he felt was best to navigate the United States and the world through this tumultuous time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Why didn't FDR bomb Auschwitz? Why did he abandon the St. Louis refugees? And why did he allow Breckinridge Long and the State Department to pursue an anti-immigration policy? Aided by novelist Josepher (What the Psychic Saw), Beir, a successful businessman and amateur Roosevelt scholar, grapples with familiar accusations waged posthumously against FDR, intertwining Roosevelt's career with memories from his own long life. Born in 1918, Beir lost a brother to strep throat and experienced anti-Semitism for the first time when he was 14. His parents' wealth from a fabrics business weathered the Depression, and Beir became the first in his family to go to college. After Brown and Harvard Business School, Beir entered the navy and, serving in London, decoded messages from FDR to Churchill. "What did servicemen in Great Britain know about the Holocaust during this time? The answer, simply, was nothing," he claims. Beir compares his father to FDR; both were secretive, imposing, prideful and elusive. Even though "great people are not great all the time," Roosevelt "was not an anti-Semite. He was not responsible for the Holocaust," Beir concludes, in a pedestrian account. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569803110
  • Publisher: Barricade Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/25/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.25 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2006

    A Historian on a Search

    At its heart, this book details a series of interconnected journeys. The journey of its author, Robert Beir. The journey of a president, FDR. And the journey of an incomparable event, the Holocaust. At its heart, this book resonates with a personal sense of intimacy and poignancy. Robert Beir lived through the Great Depression and World War II era. He lived through the age of a pervasive and deeply ingrained anti-Semitism. He lived throuh FDR's decision to intern 120,000 Japanese-Americans. He lived through General Eisenhower's deeply disturbing tour of a German concentration camp, with the piles of charred bodies, too grisly 'for the American mind to comprehend,' to quote Eisenhower. He lived through President Truman's decision to use a atomic bomb's on Japan. His memories speak to the hope, fear, destitution, exhilaration and incredible patriotism of the age. They also serve as an introduction to a larger, and currently contentious, historical question: Roosevelt's and America's legacy regarding the Holocaust. Here you will find a historian on a search. This is not a pro-Roosevelt book, unwavering in its support. Nor does this book attempt to castigate the president. Instead, and quite remarkably, this book becomes an investigation with the goal of truth in mind. How many histories strive for such a fundamental goal? How many succeed? Here is one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2006

    Roosevelt and the Holocaust - 'A Scholar's Quest'

    Roosevelt and the Holocaust is a masterpiece! It is a beautifully woven narrative, one that is as much a pleasure to read the second time as it is the first. Robert Beir's book is unique in the way that it creatively and effectively combines personal experiences with an examination of Roosevelt's policies during the Holocaust. Part autobiography, part history, part internal dialogue with Beir's hero, FDR, the book is ultimately a personal journey. But don't just take my word for it. Here's what two preeminent historians and authors of best selling books on FDR had to say about Beir's book. 'Among the many books on FDR and the Holocaust, this one occupies a uniquely powerful position. Having long considered Roosevelt his personal hero, Beir found it painful to confront the question of whether Roosevelt was indifferent to the plight of the Jews. Yet, in this moving story which is both a personal memoir and a scholar's quest, he provides an honest look at his hero, his country and himself.' Doris Kearns Goodwin (author of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt - The Home Front in World War II) 'A penetrating examination of one of the most haunting problems from World War II, vividly analyzed by a participant in that war, reflecting both his concern over FDR's blind spots and his understanding of the broader problems that Roosevelt faced.' James MacGregor Burns (author of Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox and Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom)

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