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Short Synopsis
In the years before World War II, Franklin Roosevelt's fiercest, most unyielding opponent was neither a foreign power nor "fear itself"—it was the U.S. Supreme Court. In this brilliant analysis of the president's battle with the Court, Jeff Shesol paints a vivid portrait of America at a crossroads in its history.

Full Synopsis
Beginning in 1935, in a series of devastating decisions, the Supreme Court's conservative majority left much of Franklin Roosevelt's agenda in ruins. The pillars of the New Deal fell in short succession. It was not just the New Deal but democracy itself that stood on trial. In February 1937, Roosevelt struck back with an audacious plan to expand the Court to fifteen justices—and to "pack" the new seats with liberals who shared his belief in a "living" Constitution.

The ensuing fight was a firestorm that engulfed the White House, the Court, Congress, and the nation. The final verdict was a shock. It dealt FDR the biggest setback of his political life, split the Democratic party, and set the stage for a future era of Republican dominance. Yet the battle also transformed America's political and constitutional landscape, hastening the nation's march into the modern world.

This brilliant work of history unfolds like a thriller, with vivid characters and unexpected twists. Providing new evidence and fresh insight, Jeff Shesol shows why understanding the Court fight is essential to understanding the presidency, personality, and legacy of FDR—and to understanding America at a crossroads in its history.

"Foster's perfectly metered baritone gives life to Jeff Shesol's detailed account of the "court fight."… Foster's occasional attempts to mimic the voices of the pompous participants add variety and humor." ---AudioFile

"Shesol is a terrific storyteller, and he brings the book's events to life by taking the [listener] inside the key places where the constitutional conflict took shape." ---The Boston Globe

"Sheshol tells the story of FDR's court packing plan as it has never been told before. This is a stunning work of history." ---Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner No Ordinary Time

"An impressive and engaging book---an excellent work of narrative history.... Even [listeners] who already know the outcome will find it hard not to feel the suspense that surrounded the battle." ---The New York Times

"Supreme Power is an extraordinary book that rings with relevance for our time." ---Bill Clinton

"With insight and more than occasional humor, Shesol covers all aspects of the controversy, deftly explaining the issues at stake in a variety of legal opinions and shrewdly analyzing the intra-Court dynamics." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"A fascinating reconstruction of one of the great political and legal battles of the twentieth century." ---Jeffrey Toobin, author of the New York Times Best Book The Nine
New York Times Bestseller

The New Yorker Reviewers' Favorite Book

Kirkus Review

Supreme Power

Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court

Author Jeff Shesol

Narrated by Mel Foster

Publication date Mar 29, 2010

Running time 24 hrs

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