Started to read this book last week. Only read through 1946 so far. Very interesting book, especially useful for first-generation immigrants who want to learn more detail about the U.S. history in the 20th century.
There are so many historical figures in this book that I didn't really know about, so I kept looking them up while reading.
One very impressive lady was Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretory of Labor from 1933 to 1945. She was the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. cabinet, and was largely responsible for the U.S. adoption of social security, unemployment insurance, the federal minimum wage, and federal laws regulating child labor. A true trailblazer in so many ways. The Department of Labor headquarter building was named after her.
Also learned a bunch about Fiorello La Guardia, the Mayor of NYC from 1934 to 1945. At only 5 feet, 2 inches, he was really energetic and charismatic, and was known as one of the greatest mayors in the U.S. history for giving NYC its modern infrastructure. I feel ashamed for not looking him up earlier even after living in NYC for a number of years.
Another interesting character was Norman Thomas, a Presbyterian minister who was known as a socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. He was one of the few public figures to oppose internment of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor. It took real courage to advocate for the rights of the Japanese Americans at that time.
The author of this book, William Manchester, was apparently a fan of FDR. Even though I'm far from finishing this book, I'm already very motivated to read a biography of FDR (maybe the one by Jean Smith?), as well as the biography of Churchill that was also written by this authur (The Last Lion). It's unfortunate for me, a slow reader, that all these books are so long. I still haven't finished the Washington and the Hamilton biographies by Ron Chernow.