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Nicholas Wapshott: “The Sphinx – Franklin Roosevelt, The Isolationists, And The Road To World War II”

Nicholas Wapshott: “The Sphinx – Franklin Roosevelt, The Isolationists, And The Road To World War II”

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Join us at Roosevelt House for a book discussion with journalist Nicholas Wapshott. In The Sphinx, Nicholas Wapshott recounts how an ambitious and resilient Roosevelt—nicknamed “the Sphinx” for his cunning, cryptic rapport with the press—devised and doggedly pursued a strategy to sway the American people to abandon isolationism and take up the mantle of the world’s most powerful nation. Chief among Roosevelt’s antagonists was his friend Joseph P. Kennedy, a stock market magnate and the patriarch of what was to become one of the nation’s most storied dynasties. Kennedy’s financial, political, and personal interests aligned him with a war-weary American public, and he counted among his isolationist allies no less than Walt Disney, William Randolph Hearst, and Henry Ford—prominent businessmen who believed America had no business in conflicts across the Atlantic. The ensuing battle—waged with fiery rhetoric, agile diplomacy, media sabotage, and petty political antics—would land US troops in Europe within three years, secure Roosevelt’s legacy, and set a standard for American military strategy for years to come.

The Sphinx captures a political giant at the height of his powers and an American identity crisis that continues to this day. Mr. Wapshott will be interviewed by Andrew Polsky, Acting Ruth and Harold Newman Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, Hunter College, and author ofElusive Victories: The American Presidency at War.