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Kindred Souls: The Friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and David Gurewitsch Hardcover – January 24, 2002
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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
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
But, since I knew very little about Eleanor Roosevelt prior to reading this book, it did educate me as to how committed and courageous Eleanor was when it came to the causes that she held dear. I chose to read this book because I wanted to learn something, and I did.
A most pleasant and interesting read from first page to last.
WELL APPARENTLY AS WE REMEMBER HER AS A RATHER HOMELY WOMAN. BUT SHE WAS ONE OF A BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER.
SHE FELT UNLOVED BY FATHER AND HUSBAND BUT THE DOCTOR AND SHE WERE SOUL MATES I LOVED THE STORY AND MY FRIEND THOUGHT IT WAS MUCH TOO SAD.
I AM A LONG TIME ADMIRER OF THIS WOMAN WHO DID SO MUCH FOR THE WORLD.
The abiding friendship that developed among the three of them was remarkable in its simplicity and warmth. I feel that I know the essence of Mrs. Roosevelt so much better. A book to recommend to friends, for sure!
What is more curious and not really explored here is why people became so attached to Mrs. Roosevelt and lived with her and traveled with her, unless it was just being caught up in history and the opportunity to meet so many famous people, travel first class around the world. The deep attachments of Joseph Lash and David Gurewitsch to this elderly famous lady are peculiar, but both their wives easily accepted the relationships, all the more peculiar because Eleanor was so annoyed by Franklin's intense relationship with his mother, Sara Delano, and how she ran everything, and yet Eleanor repeatedly became the same matriarch in the lives of these other couples, always there between them in the car and house. She did to Joe and especially to David what Sara had done with Franklin, demanding his complete and utter loyalty and devotion and time.
Her relationship with her own children was not good, having let nannies and her mother-in-law raise them, and the number of times they were all married and divorced, and all the grandchildren from different women is almost comical, it's so absurd. Not a happy marriage in the bunch.
I am disappointed that the book is so many repetitive letters and when it comes to the intimate details, like the final weeks, Edna pulls back and says very little. She took herself out of the room.