Franklin and Lucy


In Franklin and Lucy, historian Joseph Persico follows up his revealing work, Roosevelt’s Secret War, with a more personal look at the great president, especially the roles of the many great women in his life. We read of his redoubtable mother, Sara, the paradoxical relationship with his wife Eleanor, his many very personal assistants, and finally the enduring love of his life, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. All of these women, remarkable in themselves, had a profound influence on FDR, not only supplying the necessary support to overcome his enormous physical infirmity, but the sustenance to lead the entire world out of the sickness of depression and war.

By examining these and other relationships with the women closest to him, we come to know better a man who often chose to remain hidden behind a bodyguard of deception. Although this book may seem to plow the same ground as another recent work, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, it stands as a complementary rather than competing piece. The author makes use of new material, most of all some recently discovered letters between Lucy and Franklin, as well as a large body of personal reflections and diaries. With these, Mr. Persico manages to slip us under the curtain of FDR’s often veiled life, providing valuable insight into a complex, and historically significant, mind.

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