Wendell Lewis Willkie (1892-1944) was one of the most exciting, intellectually able, and authentically transformational figures to stride the twentieth-century American political landscape. In an era of well-merited disgrace, Willkie served up the American business community's most reasoned, politically effective, and judicially nimble defense against government regulation of the free-market economy. Wendell Willkie baited and debated Franklin Roosevelt, whose imperious sense of self-indispensability was turning his office into an imperial presidency, he warned with cracker-barrel farsightedness. His presidential campaign against Roosevelt was one of the toughest and bitterest (and most disorganized); after which, in defeat, he insisted that his party set a new standard of bipartisanship in Washington. He managed to outwit the isolationist leadership of the party (Herbert Hoover, Robert Taft, and Arthur Vandenberg) and engineer grudging recognition by the party platform of a qualified internationalism.
David Levering Lewis, from the Prologue to The Improbable Wendell Willkie: The Businessman Who Saved The Republican Party And His Country, And Conceived A New World Order