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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship Between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley Paperback – July 21, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Margaret ("Daisy") Suckley, Franklin D. Roosevelt's distant cousin and the archivist at his Hyde Park, N.Y., library, was a frequent companion of the president at the White House, yet until now the depth of their warm friendship was not realized. When she died at 99 in 1991, friends found under her bed a suitcase stuffed with thousands of pages of her diaries, and letters to and from FDR, dating from 1933 until his death in 1945. Skillfully distilled and woven together by acclaimed Roosevelt biographer Ward, these writings detail her adoration and love of FDR and his great affection toward her in the course of a relationship that for a time spilled over into giddy flirtation. Included are 38 never-before-seen letters from Roosevelt to Suckley that provide an invaluable portait of FDR in his off-hours. A measure of the extraordinary trust he placed in Suckley is that he confided to her details of his secret meeting with Churchill off Canada's coast in August 1941 and of the impending D-Day invasion, as well as his frustrations with his job and his plans for the postwar world. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Margaret Lynch Suckley, or "Daisy" as she was fondly called by Franklin Roosevelt, was the president's closest companion during his final years. Shortly after her death at age 100 in 1991, friends discovered her secret diary, many letters she wrote to FDR, and the 38 letters he wrote to her. Suckley's papers, skillfully edited by Roosevelt biographer Ward, reveal a mutual relationship of love, trust, and discretion, unlikely to be found in today's kiss-and-tell memoirs. As a confidante and probable lover, Daisy was unconditionally trusted by Roosevelt. He even informed her of the plans for the D-Day invasion. However, much of Daisy's diaries and letters to and from FDR deal with less pressing concerns?descriptions of seasonal changes, parties, FDR's cruises, and the antics of the Scottish terrier Fala, a gift from Daisy. These entries are repetitive and often tedious. More fascinating are the anecdotes about Churchill and Roosevelt and FDR's sad decline and death in 1945. Suckley's writings show a relaxed, not often documented, side of FDR and a likable, modest woman who lived for and loved Roosevelt. Recommended for large history collections.?Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439103143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439103142
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having visited Ms. Suckley's home and the nearby Roosevelt home and library, I felt as though I were along for the ride as I read Daisy's accounts of their picnics and "tea dates" at various sites along the Hudson. In this day of "tell-all" books and seemingly unlimited voyeuristic snooping into Presidential private lives, this book was a pleasant departure from the norm. It also offered new insights into the life of a much-studied President, but one about whom there are still many unknowns. Margaret Suckley, even while preserving much of the account of her longstanding (but unknown to most contemporaries) relationship with FDR, took care to take the more private elements of their friendship to the grave.
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By A Customer on August 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of Franklin Roosevelt's friendship with a distant cousin Daisy Suckley, based on journals long kept from the public by Daisy herself. It is fascinating for that story, but more so for the information it gives of a time in our history, when the President could leave the country and only those closest to him would know it. As Daisy relates the daily comings and goings of her life, she give us an intimate look at how Franklin Roosevelt managed to travel to secret meetings with other world leaders. She also lets us see Rosevelt's failing health and how his determination to win the war kept him going.
Geoffrey C. Ward's editing keeps the story moving. It may not be scholarly history, but it is a fascinating read for any history buff looking to understand the story behind the history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me more than 10 years ago; I am sorry that I finally read it only within the past few weeks. Whether its excellence is owing more to Daisy Suckley and the FDR correspondence she kept hidden throughout her long (99-year) life, or to editor and compiler Geoffrey Ward (whose other Roosevelt books I am now dying to read), it should be required reading on the topic of FDR. Nothing else I have read shows us more about FDR's personal life. It is more revealing, for example, than the recent Franklin & Lucy (also worth reading, but not nearly so compelling). Roosevelt's letters to his neighbor and distant cousin Daisy are not direct transcriptions from his mind or heart---no one's are---but they may come as close as we can get. Besides this insight, we get Daisy's eyewitness account of many crucial moments in World War II and of FDR's last days. A valuable account of an extremely complicated man.
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Format: Paperback
FDR was aware of his abilities as an actor. When he was "on," which was most of the time, he managed not to show the enormous pressures he was under, even though he thought his being president was the normal nature of the universe. Many have remarked on how difficult it was to really know him. Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, a distant cousin, was one of the people invited in by FDR's mother to keep FDR company when he contracted polio. Geoffrey C. Ward edited and annotated Suckley's diary and the letters between her and FDR, all carefully preserved (with exceptions) and discovered after she died at an advanced age. There are a number of surprises.

For one, FDR seems to have felt very affectionate--maybe more--about her. One knew that FDR had an eye for women, both before and after he contracted polio. Lucy Mercer, Missy LeHand, Princess Martha, add to that Dorothy Schiff, who is mentioned in this book--Daisy Suckley also? It turns out from the photos in the book that Daisy was a very good-looking woman, about ten years his junior, and she had the ability to give him strong unconditional love, the kind--this is conventional pop psychology--he was used to from his mother. She was undemanding, and she let him relax. Was there more? About a year's worth of diary is missing, and she evidently edited or destroyed parts of what remains. Certainly his letters to her are full of affection. Someone once said FDR was incapable of love, but it seems clear FDR loved Daisy, in his fashion. Throw out the picture of a dowdy relative enlisted to do what relatives are supposed to do.

Next surprise. He talked to her.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Three stars are probably generous for this book which is a compilation of letters and journal entries between Daisy Stuckley and FDR. The book was fascinating to be because it showed me that there was quite an intimate relationship between these distant cousins. It also showed me that FDR's duplicity did not stop with his political relationships but extended into his private life. Implied promises made to Daisy were also made to his secretary and although Daisy eventually knew of these duplicate promises she remained loyal to FDR and in fact one may say adored him.
I found the book a bit hard to follow. Dates seemed to be missing from the letters and journal entries so it was difficult for me to get a sense of when things were happening. Nonetheless, I would recommend this book as a companion read to Persico's 'Franklin and Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherford, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life'. Reading both books would give one a better understanding of Roosevelt and his need to have these women in his life.
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