Douglas Brinkley’s 2016 biography provides vast documentation of FDR’s environmental agenda and legacy, especially the Civilian Conservation Corps. Despite his disability, he was a lifelong enthusiast of outdoor recreation, as were Norman Astley, Elbert Benjamine, Fred Skinner, and Upton Sinclair. Land management and wildlife protection were as important to him as business recovery, because the Depression was both financial and ecological with Dust Bowl conditions driving families off their farms. Reforestation was an early priority for the CCC, and the Virginia Blue Ridge was one of the first areas to benefit from the program. The book contains many anecdotes about FDR’s personal visits to the region overseeing CCC projects and across the country as the National Park system expands dramatically.
FDR is vividly portrayed by Upton Sinclair in the fifth volume of his Lanny Budd series, Presidential Agent, in which the protagonist becomes an official secret agent. Published in 1944, it masterfully portrays all the intrigues of the Nazi government in the years leading up to the invasion of Poland. These WW2 era World Leaders whose natal charts appear in the Brotherhood of Light lessons also appear as characters in the Lanny Budd series: Chiang Kai-Shek, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Mohandas Gandhi, Hirohito, Adolf Hitler, Pierre Laval, Benito Mussolini, Philippe Petain, Josef Stalin. Written while FDR was president, the Lanny Budd novels contain many anecdotes that turn out, upon investigation, to be historically accurate, both geographically and chronologically.