From Publishers Weekly
Persico (Roosevelt's Secret War
) engagingly and eloquently narrates the tangled relationships between Franklin and the various women to whom he became close, including his mother; his wife; Lucy Mercer (the young Eleanor Roosevelt's social secretary during WWI and later Mrs. Winthrop Rutherford); his longtime secretary, Missy LeHand; and his distant cousin Margaret (Daisy) Suckley. These relationships have been examined before; the major revelation of the volume—backed up by documents recently discovered by Mercer's descendants—is that her relationship with FDR continued throughout his life, even after it was supposedly ended by Franklin at the demand of his mother, who threatened to cut off both his income and his inheritance were he to leave his wife and family. (Previously, it was believed that FDR's relationship with Mercer only rekindled once Franklin's mother died, at the very end of his own life.) Another intriguing aspect of the book is Persico's informed speculation on how Franklin's frequently nonchalant womanizing affected Eleanor, who appears, quite possibly, to have pursued several relationships of her own, both hetero- and homosexual. In sum, Persico offers what will prove an important, lasting addition to the literature of the Roosevelts. (Apr. 29)
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“Just when you thought you knew everything about Franklin D. Roosevelt, think again. Joseph E. Persico [is] one of America’s finest historians. . . . You can’t properly understand FDR the man without reading this landmark study.”—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University
“Persico’s exploration of FDR’s emotional life is fascinating.”—USA Today
“Persico is judicious in his treatment of these sensitive matters. . . . He understands that Lucy Mercer helped FDR awaken his capacity for love and compassion, and thus helped him become the man to whom the nation will be eternally in debt.”—Washington Post Book World
“A stylish and well-written book filled with interesting characters, marital dramas and spylike subterfuge.”—Chicago Tribune
“A powerful narrative that rarely fails to pull you along to the next chapter. ”—Louisville Courier-Journal
“Utterly absorbing.”—Pittsburgh Post-GazetteFrom the Trade Paperback edition.