From Publishers Weekly
"You know without my telling you that I love you as I love and have never loved anyone else," wrote Eleanor Roosevelt to her doctor, David Gurewitsch, in 1955. It was an extraordinary declaration by the world's most famous woman, one that has intrigued historians and biographers for decades. Now the full story behind this relationship is revealed by an unlikely source David's wife. Gurewitsch writes that her husband and Mrs. Roosevelt first met in 1944. Shortly thereafter, David became her personal physician, and a friendship blossomed that endured until Mrs. Roosevelt's death in 1962. It was, Gurewitsch admits, a curious friendship. David was 18 years younger and "uncommonly handsome" facts that made some Roosevelt family members "uneasy" about the relationship. But Gurewitsch dispels any questions about an intimate affair. Mrs. Roosevelt did possess "romantic feelings" toward David, she writes, but these were controlled by the pair "maturely and honorably." David frequently traveled with Mrs. Roosevelt; and after her marriage to David, the author was a constant companion as well. The trio even lived together in a house on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Thus, Gurewitsch literally had a living room seat from which to observe Mrs. Roosevelt's uniquely diverse life: mother, party hostess, social activist, Democratic spokesperson, world diplomat. It is chiefly for these observations, coupled with excerpts from the Gurewitsch-Roosevelt letters, that this book is valuable. With admiration for her subject, Gurewitsch has significantly expanded our understanding of the last years of the 20th century's great American woman. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
During the final 15 years of Eleanor Roosevelt's celebrated life, she nurtured an intense personal relationship with A. David Gurewitsch, a man 20 years her junior who was first her physician and later became her surrogate son. This intimate and poignant story of two psychological outsiders validating each other's needs is recounted by Gurewitsch's widow, who herself became Eleanor Roosevelt's close friend during the last four years of ER's life. Gurewitsch, born in Russia of Jewish parents, was reared in Germany. In addition to bouts of statelessness and tuberculosis in the 1930s and 1940s, he grew up fatherless like ER. Moreover, just as Eleanor was ostracized emotionally as "granny" by her beautiful socialite mother before her early death, David Gurewitsch's demanding mother abandoned him early while she pursued her medical degree abroad. Eleanor served as his "adopted" mother, and David served as her ideal son and friend. A dozen years into this special relationship, the author and David were wed in ER's living room. A New York art dealer, the young bride was thrust into the public whirlwind Eleanor generated. Her memoir offers numerous personal insights into the public institution of ER. In many ways, the second half of the memoir becomes a story of adult love and friendship among three mature characters. Highly recommended. William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.