Monday, April 7, 2008

Franklin and Lucy by Joseph Persico (a review)

Franklin and Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life
4.5 out of 5: In this biography, Persico paints an intimate portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt through the lens of his relationships with various women over the course of his life, including his mother, Eleanor, Lucy Rutherfurd, and others. I came to this book without much information about the Roosevelts, and I was pleased to find an assessable and thoroughly entertaining biography. Persico approaches his subject with sensitivity and balance, as deserved by this great family, but he does not avoid the tough issues.

Persico clearly has done his research but has refrained from overburdening the book with details. Although Persico remains focused on his theme throughout the book (FDR’s relationships with women), the book is not a narrow treatment of FDR’s life. All of the important events are included, along with the less well-known events that give us a glimpse into FDR’s true character. This book’s only misstep is a strange first chapter that seems to have been plucked from the middle of the book and stuck on the front, probably as a clumsy editor’s last-minute attempt to force a “catchy” beginning.

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