SLCL’s Westfall Series Presents Award-Winning Biographer James Tobin

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Historian James Tobin will discuss and sign his new biography, “The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency," on Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Louis County Library Headquarters (1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.) The program is free and open to the public.

Historian James Tobin discusses his new biography of FDR on 12/4

The St. Louis County Library Foundation’s ‘Buzz’ Westfall Favorite Author Series is pleased to present bestselling historian James Tobin for a discussion and signing of his new biography, “The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency.”

The event will take place at Library Headquarters (1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.) on Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase at the event from Barnes & Noble.

The event is sponsored by Maryville University.

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, James Tobin presents the story of the greatest comeback in American political history–Franklin Roosevelt’s 10–year climb from paralysis to the White House.

In 1921, at the age of 39, Roosevelt was the brightest young star in the Democratic Party. One day he was racing his children around their summer home, two days later he could not stand up. “He’s through,” said allies and enemies alike. Even his family and close friends misjudged their man, as they and the nation would learn in time.

With a painstaking reexamination of original documents, James Tobin uncovers the chain of accidents that left FDR paralyzed; he reveals how polio recast Roosevelt’s fateful partnership with his wife, Eleanor, and he shows that FDR’s true victory was not over paralysis but over the ancient stigma attached to the crippled. Tobin also explores the conventional wisdom that FDR deceived the public about his condition. In fact, Roosevelt understood that only by displaying himself as a man who had come back from a knockout punch could he erase the perception that he was a pampered pretty boy without the strength to lead the nation. As Tobin persuasively argues, FDR became president less in spite of polio than because of polio.

“The Man He Became” affirms that true character emerges only in crisis and that in the shaping of this great American leader character was all.

James Tobin is an associate professor of journalism at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A former prizewinning reporter, his first book, “Ernie Pyle’s War,” won the National Book Critics Circle award.

The program with James Tobin is a St. Louis County Library ‘Buzz’ Westfall Favorite Author Series presentation. The Westfall series features authors of politics, current issues, history, and sports. The series is co-sponsored by Jack Dubinsky and Sons; McMahon Berger; Sachs Properties; Brown Smith Wallace LLC; Royal Banks of Missouri; St. Louis Business Journal; Midwest Library Service; The Booksource; Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers; S.M. Wilson & Co.; and Stifel, Nicolaus.

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