finished reading

It's a very detailed look at FDR's polio fight and its influence on his political aspirations.

From the publisher:
In 1921, at the age of thirty-nine, Roosevelt was the brightest young star in the Democratic Party. One day he was racing his children around their summer home. Two days later he could not stand up. Hopes of a quick recovery faded fast. “He’s through,” said allies and enemies alike. Even his family and close friends misjudged their man, as they and the nation would learn in time.

With a painstaking reexamination of original documents, James Tobin uncovers the twisted chain of accidents that left FDR paralyzed; he reveals how polio recast Roosevelt’s fateful partnership with his wife, Eleanor; and he shows that FDR’s true victory was not over paralysis but over the ancient stigma attached to the crippled. Tobin also explodes the conventional wisdom of recent years—that FDR deceived the public about his condition. In fact, Roosevelt and his chief aide, Louis Howe, understood that only by displaying himself as a man who had come back from a knockout punch could FDR erase the perception that had followed him from childhood—that he was a pampered, too smooth pretty boy without the strength to lead the nation. As Tobin persuasively argues, FDR became president less in spite of polio than because of polio.

1 comment:

The Gal Herself said...

The review I've been waiting for! I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. Now it must be added to my TBR list.

Imagine being Eleanor. You just find out that the love of your life betrayed you and now you must care for him in the most intimate and exhausting ways possible. Such a compelling human drama. And if she was her, he might not have been able to be him, and we might all be speaking German.