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The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In March 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt finally became the nation's thirty-second president. The man swept in by a landslide four months earlier now took charge of a country in the grip of panic brought on by economic catastrophe. Though no one yet knew it-not even Roosevelt-it was a radical moment in America. And with all of its unmistakable resonance with events of toda ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Bloomsbury Press
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Phil Fountain
I'm just in the first third of this book but, so far, the parallel between FDR in the 30s and Obama today is eerily similar. Inheriting impossible situations from their Republican predecessors, both faced a kind of vitriol from the "loyal opposition' that was anything but civil. Both attempted to tackle the challenges they faced with bold anf agressive intelligence and both were rewarded with labels like "socialist", "fascist" and "communist" (never mind the disparity of charges here) and were r ...more
Kannan Varadhan
A very engrossing book, it captures the sentiment of a nation in distress, following a very poor recovery from the depression, with Europe on the verge of a world war. The impact of the rise of fascism and nazism and its impact here in America, the many misgivings about FDR, being in direct opposition to hoover and his failed policies at governance, and FDRs own thoughts on the New Deal and how it shaped his thinking in the early days of his presidency are interesting. Zangarra and his assassina ...more
A well written account of the development of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a presidential politician and the First Hundred Days of the New Deal. Ms. Denton weaves both the physical assault against FDR in Miami shortly after his election and the verbal assaults of Huey Long and Father Coughlin - along with some other extreme voices - into an interesting tapestry of America in the 1930s. Made me think of today's Fox Network and Rush Limbaugh.

Great on detail with telling portraits of the people arou
Amber Berry
It's been six months since I've read this book, and I've wanted to write a review for some time. I'm not sure why I've been unable to write some concise comments. Now, I'll make a small effort.

Published in 2012, I came across this under 'New Books' when I was making a list of possible reads on the FDR presidency. While reading about four Supreme Court justices appointed by FDR, I was amazed to read about domestic terrorists of the time. One man blew himself up in front of the home of a WW I gove
Bruce Black
Well researched and fascinating (especially the parallels to the current politics and Obama hating). I would've like a bit more commentary and conclusions and less of the details which, although fascinating, are not that relevant (who really cares about the height and weight of the assassin who missed FDR and shot five others standing nearby?). Still, a good overview of the politics of the day; lots of things I never knew.
Nicki Schwenkbeck
As I was reading this book I couldn't help but think of our recent confrontation with economic disaster. It seems to me the Wall Street financiers learned much from the implementation of the New Deal and vowed to never allow anything like it to happen again. It is also curious how often many of our presidents have been considered both fascist and communist simultaneously by the same group of people.
Howard Spinner
Excellent "reads like a thriller" history about the attempted assassination on Pres elect Roosevelt, and the little known and unreported attempted coup d'état by Wall St financiers and right wing extremists during the first two years of FDR's first term. A good reminder of how FDR made Wall St trading transparent through the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Jim Blessing
This was an interesting book that discussed an alledged plot by bankers and others to overthrow FDR in 1933 due to concerns over his monetary policies. The plot was going to put General Smedley Butler in charge of a Facist regime. Mr. Butler exposed the plot and it went nowhere. He was a strong Roosevelt supporter.
Chris Higgins
I enjoyed this book. Interesting parallels in Wall Street's behavior prior to the Great Depression and prior to the Great Recession. Ditto for Wall Street's reaction to regulation. While I enjoyed the history, I'm not sure the plots mentioned in the title ply a major role in the book.
Only two plots. One was Giuseppe Zangara's attempt to assassinate FDR prior to his inauguration.
He missed FDR, but wounded several others, including Chicago mayor Anton Cermak who later died.
Question whether this was a conspiracy or a lone gunman. Second was a half baked coup by some New York businessmen which now seems farcical. Denton has some excellent insights into FDR's motivations. The man who expanded the Federal government was at heart a Jeffersonian. Also considers the effect that Hitle
Raj Chakraberti
I would've preferred a better explanation about the consequences of leaving the gold standard, otherwise I would've given it 5 stars.
Didn't know Sally Denton but glad I do now. This is a very well written history of events I knew nothing about.
Milton Erhardt
I have finished the "The Plots Against the President" by Sally Denton. It is a fascinating account of the social turmoil of the Great Depression. It provides insight into the anger and desperation of the American people before the inauguration of Mr. Roosevelt, as well as the hostile relationship between Roosevelt and Hoover.

It provides a detailed account of Mr. Giuseppe Zangara's attempt on FDR's life which resulted, sadly, in the death of Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago. It explains why the att
This is one of the most ridiculous books I have ever read. Ms. Denton, supposedly a respected historian, tries to draw a link between fascists of the 1930s and today's conservative movements. Her "evidence" is an attempted assassination of President-elect Franklin Roosevelt by a deranged Italian in early 1933. She espouses several conspiracy theories, but in the end, she has no leg to stand on since even J. Edgar Hoover decided there was no proof. Later, she runs a litany of "rainbow" shirts who ...more
This book should get one star, but thanks to the saving grace of its subject matter it gets the bump up to two stars. If you told me that you had a book about a Wall Street financed plot to oust FDR and replace him with a dictator using an army of disgruntled veterans to be led by a retired general who had retired in protest over America's interventionist foreign policy, I would want to read that book. Unfortunately, despite the title, this is not that book. Grant it, that plot is discussed, but ...more
Like Sally Denton's biography of Helen Gahagan Douglas (The Pink Lady: The Many Lives of Helen Gahagan Douglas), I picked this up on the strength of its title. This is a much better book, but like the other, for different reasons, the title does not fit the content. The footnotes show that Denton has done some work.

Two plots against FDR are described. A potential third plot, sort of against Roosevelt, is mentioned. Together the three "plots" may be a third of the text.

After a long introduction,
Jeez, a sensational title, but a lackluster follow-through. "The Rise of the American Right, " you say? Hardly! The "plots" in question receive scant attention in this yawn-inducing 221-page plod-fest. In fact, the only genuine "plot" is detailed in the last 40 pages of the book. Before that, readers are in for a rather pedestrian account of the events of 1932-1933 and FDR's handling of the first 200 days of his administration. To say this material has been given better treatment elsewhere would ...more
Tavis Hanson
Very good comparing today's political climate with what FDR had to deal with when he was elected.
Discusses an assassination attempt against FDR during the interregnum of his Presidency and Hoover's. Interesting facts along the way about FDR's drastic New Deal provide background details that lead the reader to a second plot: a coup lead by bankers who wanted to overthrow FDR in 1934-35 and implement a fascist gov't akin to Italy's.

I am now curious about the rest of his Presidency, but less interested in the details of the two events discussed in the book.
Had a lot of potential but seemed a little rushed in its delivery. The assassination attempt on FDR's life right before his 'we have nothing to fear but fear itself' inaugural speech deserved more space in this book as did the Wall Street plot to overthrow FDR and perhaps instill a Fascist government. But to combine all of that and other biographical material on FDR into 220 pages just didn't work for me.
Sagar Jethani
The Plots Against the President? More like "The New Deal for Dummies." Denton inadequately covers FDR's legacy, and only makes passing reference to the Wall Street Putsch.

If you're looking for a good book on the New Deal, try those available by Michael Hiltzik or William Leuchtenburg.
A very easy read. But I think the title is a bit misleading. Of the 38 chapters, only 4-5 are about plots. The rest is about FDR's election and first term. Still, a good read.
Cass marked it as to-read
Oct 03, 2014
Lisa marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2014
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