Two Men and a Car: Franklin Roosevelt, Al Capone, and a Cadillac V-8

illus. by Michael Garland. 64p. Tilbury House. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780884486206.
Gr 4–6—Garland presents the life stories of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and notorious gangster Al Capone, whose lives are said to be linked by a single Cadillac V-8. A study rooted in contrast, this title examines the histories of these two notable figures side by side from birth to death, alternating between their timelines as it progresses. The narrative structure highlights the difference in circumstance between Roosevelt, a child born into wealth and privilege who achieved political success as an adult, and Capone, one of nine children born to immigrants, who failed to complete school and embarked on a life of crime that eventually led him to Alcatraz. Layered illustrations combine the look and feel of scratchboard art with subdued, nostalgic tones that call to mind vintage photographs and newsprint. This style is effective in drawing the reader into the time period, though it occasionally makes captions layered directly on top of illustrations difficult to read. Back matter includes a color-coded Roosevelt-Capone timeline and a resource list. While the stories presented here are interesting in their own right, the link is tenuous; readers discover this at the very end when Roosevelt's trip in the confiscated V-8 is described as an "urban legend," confirmed by the author's note. The car, though a titular character, receives little more than a passing mention throughout.
VERDICT An unusual read that will mainly interest history buffs curious about the specific time period and human subjects.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing