Franklin and Lucy – Book Review

Franklin and Lucy (by Joseph Persico, Random House 2008) is a biography of FDR with a focus on his relationships with his wife and other women. The book also provides a social and political portrait of the times. FDR lived from 1882 to 1945. He contracted polio in 1921, diagnosed when he was visiting his summer home on Campobello Island, NB, before his first election as President. He served as Governor of new York from 1929-31. His four (democrat) presidential terms were with three different VPs – Landon, Wilkie and Truman. His first term was from 1933-37, then 37-41, 41-45 and 45-. He died shortly after the Yalta meeting with Stalin and Winston Churchill where the boundaries of Europe were carved up between the USSR and the West. Neither Roosevelt or Churchill were in good health at this time. While Roosevelt died, Churchill was defeated in a General Election later in 1945 by Clement Attlee and the Labour Party.

From 1921 on Roosevelt could only move either in a wheel chair or with the aid of canes which allowed him to stand up but always with assistance. He had a special car designed so that it could be driven with hand controls

He was born into the famous Roosevelt family and his wife Eleanor was from another part of the family, a niece of Republican President Theodore Roosevelt. He attended Harvard, was a C student and was known for his charm and ability to persuade people through public speaking. He was editor of the Crimson student newspaper. The Roosevelt family were wealthy as a result of large profits from the opium trade with China.

The book details his life long affair with Lucy Mercer Rutherford and involvement with other women. It is well researched and written but would benefit from photos of the main characters and a family tree of the main characters some of which were related.


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