|Master of his fate : Roosevelt's rise from polio to the presidency|
Author: Tobin, James
A biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, focusing on his battle with polio and how he triumphed despite the disease.
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/21)
School Library Journal (02/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/02/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2021 Gr 5–8—This biography focuses on the years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's life from the time he contracted polio in 1921 to when he was inaugurated in 1933. His early life is briefly summarized. When discussing people with disabilities, Tobin notes when he is using words that readers will find offensive now and why he is doing so. Tobin also examines society's changing views of disability and how Roosevelt helped impact these shifts in cultural thought. There are details about the controversy surrounding the portrayal of Roosevelt without crutches or a wheelchair in his monument erected in the 1990s. Pages of photographs, an index, and source notes are included. The writing level could be challenging for some readers, and the tone occasionally veers toward the didactic. Only a few times does the text feature a broader outlook on people with disabilities during the 1930s; it usually stays tightly focused on Roosevelt and acknowledges the unique power and privileges his position and wealth provided. While this book would not work as an overarching look at FDR's life, nor should it be the first choice for a biographical portrait of the former president, it would work well for a student who wants to learn about polio and the experiences of people with disabilities. VERDICT A solid biography for older readers focusing on the specific years of FDR's life that included his struggles with polio, recovery, and learning to live as a person with a disability in a world where those differences usually meant being hidden away.—Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage P.L., AK - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2021 *Starred Review* Rewriting The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency (2013) for a (somewhat) younger audience, Tobin keeps his theme—that the struggle to battle back from polio contracted in 1921 shaped much of FDR’s indomitable character—but trims off some of the weight of detail and documentation to make his points more succinctly. What remains are exacting descriptions of the disease’s effects on nerves and muscles, and of the exercises, often excruciating, prescribed by specialists at a time when there was no vaccine and the science of physical therapy was in its infancy. Countering the widely held later belief that FDR carefully engineered a “splendid deception” that he wasn’t seriously “crippled” (a word that the author uses frequently to reflect contemporary attitudes), Tobin asserts that preconceived notions about disability itself were the only deception, and that Roosevelt remains an inspiring example of sheer perseverance. An album of 30 photos carries Roosevelt from childhood to 1943 (and offers a partial view of his memorial); the narrative ends with his first term win in 1932. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.