This is the story of a very different Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the one traditionally found in the history books. This is a much younger, untested, pre-polio FDR, learning the complexities of gaining and exercising power as Woodrow Wilson's ambitious Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He arrives in Washington as an inexperienced political amateur possessed of little more than a famous name, but by the time he leaves the Navy eight years later he will have transformed himself into a seasoned professional, wise to the ways of power, a visionary ready and eager to take his place on the world stage.
FDR's early years in Washington also include the most tumultuous period in his personal life, when, caught in a difficult marriage, he is forced to choose between his own personal happiness and his political ambitions. He must deal at close quarters with Congress, with the Administration, and with the military. Lastly, but crucially, he confronts himself, learning something about his potential, his limitations, and his growing ambition to become president of the United States.