- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (May 12, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812974964
- ISBN-13: 978-0812974966
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 97 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Franklin and Lucy: Mrs. Rutherfurd and the Other Remarkable Women in Roosevelt's Life Paperback – May 12, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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-Gazette
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
FDR was, first and foremost, a member of the American Eastern Establishment. As a close relative of Theodore Roosevelt during the latter's heyday, and as one who derived from two patrician American family lines (the Delanos and the Roosevelts) Franklin D. Roosevelt was born to privilege. He never wanted for money, and the author explains in considerable detail that when young Franklin wanted or needed money, when he needed bills paid, or pretty much anytime money was called for, his mother simply wrote the check. Not once but several times his mother gifted the young Roosevelts mansions and townhomes. Young Franklin simply never had to think about money. The author explains how, in those days, members of FDR's social class were more or less automatically admitted to top Ivy League Eastern schools, and afterwords guaranteed high-paying jobs in business or the professions (in FDR's case the legal profession). Grades and merit meant little; family name and background everything. In fact, it was bad form to be a "grind" and aspire to a high grade-point average. That was for "scholarship boys" who lacked money. (It is hard to imagine this today. In my USC law school class, with very few exceptions the top law firms were first and foremost concerned with one's grades and class academic standing and the competition for academic merit was ferocious.)
The core of this book, of course, deals with Roosevelt's relationships with women. In those days the press simply did not publicize the affairs of top political figures. The author masterfully analyzes FDR's relationship with his wife Eleanor, and thoroughly documents his life-long intimate relationship with Lucy Mercer (later Lucy Mercer Rutheford) and his secretary-assistant Missy LeHand. These relationships were no great secret to those in the know, but the public imagined that FDR and Eleanor had a more or less "normal" marriage. After Eleanor discovered the love letters between Lucy Mercer and FDR (in 1918), they did not. But in those days divorce for FDR's class more or less constituted social and political suicide, and thus the marriage persisted, but as a partnership of two very different people who did not love one another. FDR's relationship with Ms. LeHand is particularly interesting. What emerges is the fact that while Ms. Mercer was undoubtedly the great love of FDR's life, he also had an intimate relationship with Missy LeHand, and she was undoubtedly the one indispensable person in his life as he rose in politics and became President. It is no exaggeration to say that she was madly in love with him, and that FDR was her whole life.
This piece also does a fine job of documenting FDR's struggle with polio. I had not realized until I read this piece how physically incapacitated President Roosevelt had been. He could not get out of bed without help, for example. He may have been born to wealth, privilege, and prestige, but it is also true that even given these tremendous advantages (and they were tremendous advantages) only an extraordinary human being could have overcome this physical limitation the way that Franklin Roosevelt did. Other biographers have detailed FDR's political ruthlessness and drive--that same steely determination, combined with Roosevelt's innate optimism and refusal to admit defeat, enabled him to live an extraordinary life and overcome his physical limitations.
I bought the Kindle edition of this book, and I was pleased to note that the photographs in the book are rendered well. And there are several interesting photos of FDR and the women of his life.
This book is not a gossip piece; it is far more than that. It is a glimpse into the American upper-class as it was in the early twentieth century, and above all an insightful and intimate look at the life of one of the giants of those times. Highly recommended.
Although both will be recorded as extraordinary world figures, he emerges as the more likeable. Persico paints both the strengths and weaknesses of this unlikely couple, and FDR simply shines. He was raised in aristocratic circumstances by his formidable mother, Sara. She treated him as her "golden child," giving him the gift of high self-esteem, one that was to provide him his lifelong buoyant optimism and a hearty laugh and the confidence to tackle all foes, whether in the Great Depression or WWII or his fight against being an invalid. Yet his intellect and character may have been a bit "second rate," and he could be vindictive and nurse a grudge. He was expedient in his politics and in his use of people, even with Lucy when their love was sacrificed to his ambitions--and his mother's threat to disinherit him. Nonetheless, he was handsome and amusing and lively, and people loved him.
Eleanor was reared differently. Although also born into comfortable circumstances, her mother died when she was eight and she was sent to live with her grandmother, a grim soul, at nine. She had protruding teeth and spent part of her youth harnessed into a back brace, making her feel ugly. She was fully orphaned just before ten, when her father died from alcoholism. Eleanor, insecure and starved for affection, gained ground when she was sent to a finishing school at fifteen. But she never really shook off her detachment from significant others. When she discovered FDR's affair, Eleanor banned him from their marital bed. She raised her five children rather indifferently, and went on to have affairs of her own with both sexes that started out well but never lasted. People said of her that she "really became interested in individuals only when they had problems" and "found it easy to give her heart to suffering millions she had never met." Words such as dispassionate, impersonal, humorless, and serious were descriptive of her. Even an admirer said, "She wasn't a hell of a lot of fun."
In contrast, Lucy Mercer was a woman of great beauty, dignity, and warmth throughout her life. Descended from wealth, when her parents squandered their lot she was forced to seek employment and became Eleanor's social secretary. She performed flawlessly and caught the eye of FDR. Their affair was conducted circumspectly, but it ended up with their falling in love. A crisis ensued, which resulted in Lucy's removal from the scene--although not from his heart. Lucy eventually married Winthrop Rutherford, a wealthy widower with five children who was 29 years her senior. She quickly assumed the role of loving wife and stepmother, and went on to have a daughter with him. But Lucy and Franklin intermittently resumed their affectionate relationship (although probably no longer a physical one). She attended his inaugurations, and even FDR's daughter Anna would arrange for visits between them when Eleanor was elsewhere. Famously, of course, Lucy was with him at Warm Springs on the day that he died.
This is simply a riveting book about the complexities of intimate human affairs. Highly recommended !!