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FDR's Funeral Train: A Betrayed Widow, a Soviet Spy, and a Presidency in the Balance Hardcover – March 16, 2010
"The Best 'Worst President'" by Mark Hannah and Bob Staake
A noted political commentator and renowned New Yorker illustrator team up to give Barack Obama the victory lap he deserves. Learn more
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“Klara revives a long-forgotten event with precision and pathos, allowing readers a coveted Pullman berth for a ride through three of this country's darkest yet most formative days.” ―Gay Talese, author of A Writer's Life
“A riveting, sumptuously detailed look inside a luxurious, mysterious private train swaying from one presidency to another--the picture windows in its last car showcasing a bronze coffin to thousands of trackside mourners ignorant of the vivid tensions in the cars ahead.” ―John Stilgoe, Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape, Harvard University and author of Outside Lies Magic: Discovering History and Inspiration in Ordinary Places
“Robert Klara's FDR's Funeral Train is a well-written and vivid account of America's greatest national mourning since Abraham Lincoln was shot. Every page here is illuminating. At times Klara practically transports the reader back to 1945. A major new contribution to U.S. history.” ―Douglas Brinkley is author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
“No fan of FDR and his presidency can afford to pass up this book. Robert Klara takes you inside FDR's funeral train, and into the minds and hearts of those who made the president's last journey with him. Klara offers a unique, never-before-told perspective on the sudden transfer of power, the players who wanted to grab some of that power and the widow whose grief was tinged with the bitter taste of betrayal. A remarkable story by a true storyteller.” ―Lorraine Diehl, author of The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station
“No one in 1945, friend or enemy, was unmoved by the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, after his dozen critical years in the White House. FDR's Funeral Train vividly recalls the nerve-racking week behind the headlines, when his family and his government rose above a trainload of personal problems to help the nation across the chasm left by his demise. An exciting addition to the Roosevelt bookshelf, Klara's book is overflowing with the stuff that every history reader craves – fresh, original research.” ―Julie Fenster, author of The Case of Abraham Lincoln and FDR's Shadow
“With great skill and riveting detail, Robert Klara uses a three day train journey to provide readers with a fascinating glimpse into the inner-workings of the Washington elite in the days after FDR's death. This fast-paced narrative is filled with vivid portraits and plenty of intrigue. It also manages to shed new light on a critical moment in our nation's history.” ―Steve Gillon, author of 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America and Resident Historian, The History Channel
“An intriguing account of FDR's last journey and a must read for all those still caught up in the romance and mystery of rail travel” ―David B Woolner, Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute and Associate Professor of History, Marist College
“FDR's Funeral Train is a fascinating tale well told. Hop aboard with the skilled storyteller Robert Klara. You'll be glad you did.” ―James Bradley, author of Flags of our Fathers and Flyboys
“In the manner of Bob Greene's Once Upon a Town or Jody Rosen's White Christmas, similar, bite-sized slices of World War II–era home-front history, Klara charms as he informs. A little gem.” ―Kirkus (starred review)
“[A] bizarre, one-of-a-kind trip on a funeral train. Klara has put together a thrilling piece of history....Sixty-five years after FDR's death, Klara has managed to provide a fresh look at history as well as the political landscape of the 21st century.” ―The Daily Beast
“Full of fascinating anecdotes....This is popular history at its best: engaging, informative and insightful. It is very well written and . . . a pure pleasure to read . . . sheds welcome light on a fascinating and largely forgotten episode of American political history.” ―Christian Science Monitor
“The author's exhaustive research reveals for the first time the inside story of the 1,000-mile train journey from Georgia to New York.” ―Charlottesville Daily Progress
“A tale that unfolds with all the drama that the subtitle suggests. . . . Klara has recreated the journey in such fascinating, cinematic detail that the luxurious Pullman cars themselves almost seem like characters.” ―Hudson Valley
“This book provides a fascinating look at foreign policy at the tail end of World War II, as well as both foreign and domestic policy after the war ended. . . . A compelling tale of a little-known piece of American history. [For] anyone interested in presidential biographies and World War II literature. [F]ans of conspiracy theories may also enjoy reading this book.” ―Daily Freeman
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading more like a novel than a history, the premise of transporting the fallen president's body for a public funeral and burial was a gargantuan task and one that was mind boggling, dangerous, and probably never should have been undertaken.
Even in a pre-9/11 America there was no shortage of security concerns. The country was at war on two fronts and national security was imperative. The game plan was essentially to include all the key players in the government in the massive funeral procession to Hyde Park by train.
The security aspects of this undertaking and the logistics involved might well have been enough for one book. However, interwoven within this undertaking is the stuff that elevates this book into a totally different category. The president's widow finds out that FDR died in the company of a former mistress named Lucy Rutherfurd. Harry Truman becomes president after 3 months as vice president. Completely unprepared for the job, FDR has not shared information with him regarding Stalin or the A-bomb or anything else for that matter. There is the typical political jockeying which occurs when a new president assumes office as another president is buried.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting historical review. I grew up riding trains and it brought back many memories.Published 1 month ago by Linda Crofts
Truly an interesting and intriguing read with great detail of all the important figures on the train. So much I did not know about FDRs death and the subsequent days thereafter.Published 3 months ago by Jason Malott
Interesting, informative, a well-told story from our past. Enjoyed the descriptions, hard to put the book down.Published 3 months ago by Barbara
This book should be made into a movie. So much drama and history. Enjoyed very much!Published 4 months ago by orbrexx
Although I knew a lot there was a lot I didn't know. Eleanor's humiliation was more painful than I knew. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sue
Robert Klara is a gifted and skilled author. His research and attention to detail are impeccable. He has the unique ability to seek out, research, and tell the obscure and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Marathoner
Page 61 (my book)
The entire city of Charlotte [North Carolina] – or near it – had turned out. Every street reaching away from the railroad track was, for three blocks a solid... Read more