Rob Newman on Franklin D Roosevelt May 17, 2022

from Great Lives· ·

Comedian and writer Rob Newman is a long-time fan of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who "saved the United States, just in time for the United States to save the world". When FDR came into office in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, unemployment stood at more than 25% and drought in the Dust Bowl had decimated American agriculture across the Great Plains. While known for his folksy charm, Roosevelt was a shrewd and determined politician, who transformed federal government, the US financial system and the relationship between the American people and their president forever. His raft of early …



Comedian and writer Rob Newman is a long-time fan of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who "saved the United States, just in time for the United States to save the world". When FDR came into office in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, unemployment stood at more than 25% and drought in the Dust Bowl had decimated American agriculture across the Great Plains. While known for his folksy charm, Roosevelt was a shrewd and determined politician, who transformed federal government, the US financial system and the relationship between the American people and their president forever. His raft of early interventions, known as the New Deal, have become the benchmark for US presidents' first 100 days in office ever since. As 'Forester in Chief', FDR's administration initiated mass tree planting and soil conservation - all while providing employment for 3 million young men. Rob talks to Matthew Parris about how FDR's radical and ambitious environmentalism continues to inspire him, and how this man defied his sheltered upper class upbringing to reach out to working Americans and address their struggles directly. They are joined by Professor David B. Woolner, Senior Fellow and Resident Historian of the Roosevelt Institute and author of The Last 100 Days: FDR at War and at Peace, to discuss FDR's personal triumphs, his hidden struggles and his international legacy. Could or should he have predicted the divided Europe that followed hot on the heels of a hard-fought peace? With thanks to the archivists at the Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library. Presented by Matthew Parris. Produced by Sarah Goodman for BBC Audio Bristol.