X-ooming FDR 1932: W, Green’
What would you do if you could go back in time and change history? What if you could go back and prevent the death of a political figure knowing that the course of history and what would come next would change the complexion of events for not only the United States but other countries too? What would you do if you could save the elections of 1932 and get FDR elected instead of leaving Hoover in power for four more years? Three young adults have decided to tackle the second because saving the elections would prevent the United States from many world problems, allowing the nation to elect FDR. The elections of 1932 were cancelled causing rioting which followed the Great Depression Occupy Movement. A group called the Bonus Army is central in what happened. War veterans promised compensation of pay back for their service were waiting for the House and the Senate to decide their fate. Over 20 thousand of these WWI veterans occupied Washington making their presence known, their demands and their wants. But, their demands did not pass in the Senate but they were relentless. President Hoover became more than just angry and send the US Army led by General Douglas to deal with them sending tanks and soldiers inciting a full blown riot.
Three young adults living in 2032 decide to change the course of history, go back one hundred years and begin over again by hoping to save the elections, get FDR elected and learn more about that time period. But, what happens to each one will surprise readers ad Emma Callan Wright, her brother Ethan and friend Zak borrow a special time machine created by Dr. Currant and head back one hundred years. Currant’s TimeTravelle machine allows travelers 28 days to complete their mission and in this case to save the Presidential race of 1932. But, lessons are learned from the start as they find themselves aboard a train they think is headed for Boston, Ethan and Zak leave Emma to fend for herself while the forage for food and the end result will change the course of their own plans as she winds up being attacked by the man running the train and saved by a knight you might say without shining armor. The Bonus Army comes front and center as the two friends emerge and find their way back to a train that is missing and a sister Ethan cannot find. But, the Bonus Army is right there and they take control of them both hoping to teach them a lesson they will never forget. Becoming part of their army is the only way they will be able to accomplish their goals.
Entering a new world unknown to them and doing some brief research about the time period and Roosevelt the three time travelers meet many colorful and helpful people. First is Branko who saves Emma from an attack on the train when her brother and Zak leave her to get food. Next they meet a young man who works for Mrs. Roosevelt and appears taken with Emma and provides the three young travelers with a place to stay but not before they all see what these veterans have endured. Conditions that are worse than deplorable, living in total filth, squalor and hoping that the government will come to their aid, these people refuse to leave the camps in Washington, D.C. in hope that they will get the money owed to them. But, defeat is the answer but giving up is not as Congress leaves without approving the money when the House votes in favor and the Senate turns it down. With President Hoover refusing to take a stand either way or the threat of the elections being cancelled and the government instituting Marshall Law, things get pretty heated. With the arrival of some Communists who begin to stir things up Emma hopes with the help of her new friend Jack Travers, to convince Mrs. Roosevelt to ask FDR for some help. But, will she agree and will she understand what Emma really wants and where she is coming from. Public support ran high for these veterans but the United States government was headed towards dictatorship. The end result back in `1932 was the elections were cancelled but Emma hoped to change that.
According to Wikipedia the Bonus Army was the popular name attributed to some 43 thousand marchers of which 17 thousand were WWI veterans. Their families and affiliated groups gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand cash payment redemption fo their service certificates. Their organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of WWI’s American Expeditionary Force. The media called it The Bonus March led by Walter W. Waters a former Army sergeant. The author allows readers to meet this man, hear his voice and understand what these veterans were hoping for as a result of being out of work due to the Great Depression.
The story is told through many voices and Zak whose voice cannot be heard due to his inability to be able to speak in this time period, allows readers to understand their viewpoints, what they are trying to do, his feelings towards the veterans by allowing readers to read his personal diary. The story continues to unfold as Emma and Jack become closer and she convinces him to get her into see Mrs. Roosevelt. But, the meeting at first seems to be going well until a reporter named Hick changes it all and Mrs. Roosevelt’s demeanor and attitude change. Just who this woman is and her relationship to Mrs. Roosevelt might surprise readers. Added in the author includes information about Lucy Mercer the young woman hired as FDR’s secretary and mistress.
When things come to a head many lives are lost, the violence continues and Emma is struck with an illness that might cause her to have to remain in 1932. The author graphically describes what happens when the violence erupts, the camps raided, the tear gas and the weapons drawn as so are left with no where to go and some find that the ending is as hopeless as before. When General MacArthur gives his personal account and the results of the election are made known will Roosevelt win? Will Hoover be victorious or will Martial Law reign. But there is much more before the final ending as Branko, Ethan and Zak meet J. Edgar Hoover and the encounter is quite unique, Hoover’s actions might surprise some readers, the end result for one man will result in some jail time and the hope that they will return home unknown. As the wounded and the dead find their final fates and the Veterans are shot dead when the Washington police met with resistance and the Communists are accused of causing the trouble, one young girl escapes to help the family within the Mark’s Camp and the end result could be more than just fatal. July 28th that date that would change it al when Hoover ordered the army to the campsites filled with veterans just praying for some help and nowhere to go. Wives, children, Bonus Marchers forced out and their entire world in flames. Dougals MacArthur commanded the troops and the end result you will learn for yourself when you take the trip back in time and board the TimeTravelle and join Emma, Ethan and Zak and the Marchers to find out if they succeeded. Did the rewrite history? Did they ever get back to Mystic Heights or did they remain in 1932? What about Jack and Emma will she return or will she remain with him? What would you do if you could rewrite a historical event deciding on the end result yourself? What would you do if you were Emma, Zak and Ethan? What would you say to Eleanor Roosevelt if you met her, Eisenhower or Patton? Would you hop a freight train deal with communists hiding in plain sight, hostile army soldiers and a highly volatile political time period. Read X-ooming FDR and decide for yourself. Looking forward to finding out what happens next to our three time travelers.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer