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Supreme Power

FDR: MPI/Getty

FDR: MPI/Getty

I just got a copy of Jeff Shesol’s new book Supreme Power, an investigation into FDR’s efforts to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. (You can read a rave review from the NYT here.) Shesol’s previous book, Mutual Contempt, about the relationship between LBJ and RFK, was terrific and I used it as one of the structural models for The Hawk and the Dove, studying it whenever I needed to figure out a new way to pass the narrative baton from one character to another. The court-packing episode was important to Nitze too. He grew up a Republican, but switched to the Democratic Party in the 1930s. When Roosevelt tried to monkey with the judiciary, Nitze rejoined the GOP; but then he switched out again soon thereafter—setting a pattern that would last his lifetime.

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