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American Experience; FDR


Night Two

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American Experience
Program Number

702 (R)

Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

This miniseries offers an in-depth portrait of a man who changed America's ideas about the presidency--Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The series includes archival film, home movies and audio clips. Included are interviews with Curtis Roosevelt, FDR's grandson; Eleanor Roosevelt, his niece; Eleanor Seagraves, his granddaughter; FDR biographers Geoffrey Ward, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Hugh Gallagher; journalist Alistair Cooke; and White House butler Alonzo Fields. Author and historian David McCullough narrates. Episode descriptions are as follows: #701- "The Center of the World" - explores Roosevelt's family background and education, follows his early political career, and his courtship of his distant cousin Eleanor Roosevelt and their troubled marriage (including FDR's affair with Lucy Mercer, Eleanor's social secretary.) "Fear Itself" - begins with Roosevelt's bout with polio at age 39 and follows his struggle to rehabilitate his body and his political career. It also looks at Eleanor's involvement in politics. #702 - "The Grandest Job in the World" focuses on the first two terms of Roosevelt's presidency and explores the paradox that a man of privilege came to be a hero to a varied coalition of ordinary Americans and a villain to members of his own social class. The segment looks at FDR's struggle with the Depression, how he hid his physical disability from the American people, and how his relationship with his wife affected his personal and professional lives. "The Juggler" - traces FDR's management of the war, including his growing personal ties to Winston Churchill and his relationship with Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union. The program also explores Eleanor's attempt to convince him to maintain the principles of the New Deal despite the pressures of war.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; FDR,” 09/05/1997, GBH Archives, accessed February 24, 2024,
MLA: “American Experience; FDR.” 09/05/1997. GBH Archives. Web. February 24, 2024. <>.
APA: American Experience; FDR. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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