A RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY: The Roosevelts of the White House by Elliott and James Brough Roosevelt

A RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY: The Roosevelts of the White House

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Perhaps Elliott Roosevelt got burned by what we called the ""mouse in the bedroom"" character of his last book on the family (An Untold Story, 1973), which dwelt on FDR's affairs and Eleanor's frigidity. Here Elliott does note that as ""father"" turned 60, Missy LeHand ceased to be his mistress as well as his secretary. The book also alludes to opium as the source of the Delano fortune, to Joe Kennedy's attempted seduction of Elliott's sister, and to the probability that William Bullitt bribed a train porter to accuse Sumner Welles of making homosexual advances. And Elliott indulges his dislike of Bernard Baruch to insist that the latter was never an important advisor. But for the most part, the book is full of praise of both parents and their entourage; indeed, it is intended to celebrate FDR's full ""greatness"" as well as his ""complexity."" Though necessarily most of the material is standard (the imperiousness of Madame Chiang for example) there are some nice touches. Elliott describes the parallels between FDR's programs and those of his friend Oswald Mosley, the British Fascist; he also, as in earlier contributions, underlines FDR's rumblings against the British Empire. ""'Greece,' he barked. 'British troops. Fighting against the guerrillas who fought the Nazis for the last four years.... I don't suppose there's much I can do about it.'"" The Truman years and the Eisenhower administration are reviewed with a caustic insistence that the Cold War could have been avoided. A backhanded filial appreciation with a calculated readership ahead.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1975
Publisher: Putnam