From a reader:
Have you by any chance read Niall Ferguson’s War of the World? He echoes/anticipates your trope on the similarities between FDR and the Fascists/Nazis, particularly their penchant for wartime mobilization to address peacetime problems, their collectivist outlook, and their inflammatory rhetoric directed against “others”. In fact, in a telling bit, he sets the stage by announcing that it is March 1933 and that a newly elected political leader is addressing a crowd of thousands in a sports arena. He then goes on to present the speech, full of railing and bullying against entrenched interests, bloated plutocrats, and nameless outsiders who are oppressing the “real” people, followed by the announcement that his government has been elected to take action, and if the law and constitution get in the way of action, they will have to be changed or swept aside.
Only then does he reveal that the politician in question is FDR, doing a really good impression of a certain Austrian housepainter.
Anyway, it’s quite revealing, and the book as a whole is intensely thought provoking. If you haven’t read it yet, pick it up. I devoured it on a 9 1/2 hour flight from Munich to DC (somehow, that seemed appropriate).
Me: I’ve read some big chunks of the book, and I know the passage the reader refers to. But I haven’t read the whole thing yet. It’s on my pile of books I’d like to read now that I have enough time to read for pleasure (but I confess there are several graphic novels at the front of the line right now).