FDR’s Firedside Chats
On thirty-one occasions during his presidency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt went on radio to talk things over with the people of the United States. Those fireside chats, characterized by a disarming frankness and an informal and conversational tone, represent an unprecedented presidential attempt to achieve intimacy with the nation. In these addresses the president touched upon all of the issues surrounding the Depression and the New Deal and upon the events, fears, and hopes that were part of the American experience of World War II.
Russell D. Buhite and David W. Levy have gathered the fireside chats for the first time in a single volume and, by careful attention to recordings and stenographic reports, present the speeches exactly as Roosevelt spoke them. In a general introduction and two additional essays, the editors discuss the importance of Roosevelt in American political history, the rise of the radio as a political tool, the issues of the day, and the way Roosevelt, aided by speech writers and advisers, prepared and delivered the chats.