ELEANOR AND HARRY

THE CORRESPONDENCE OF ELEANOR ROOSEVELT AND HARRY S. TRUMAN

Thanks to the broader perspective added by Neal’s expert annotations, this warm and provocative collection will appeal to...

Previously unpublished letters between President Truman and the woman he dubbed “First Lady of the World.”

While researching Harry and Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Postwar World (2001), Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neal unearthed a cache of intimate correspondence between Truman and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and recognized that readers would find the private, personal letters between these two public figures compelling. The letters reveal how their friendship began as Truman reached out to the newly widowed first lady in 1945 and offered her an appointment as one of the first representatives to the FDR-inspired United Nations. This early bonding blossomed into a bold mutual respect that manifested itself during crises as varied as the death of Truman’s mother and General Douglas MacArthur’s insubordination during the Korean War. Despite their warm friendship, the volume also reveals significant tension during the periods when Truman and Roosevelt’s political views diverged. According to Neal, Roosevelt’s belief that Truman couldn’t win the 1948 presidential election led her to covertly support her sons’ efforts to draft Dwight Eisenhower as the Democratic candidate. Other letters show how disagreements over Truman’s treatment of conscientious objectors or his early dealings with the Soviet Union further strained their friendship. Despite these occasional political differences, the correspondence (bolstered by Neal’s keen historical insights) suggests that Truman and Roosevelt’s deepening relationship enriched not only their own lives, but also the character of their nation in the early days of the Cold War.

Thanks to the broader perspective added by Neal’s expert annotations, this warm and provocative collection will appeal to general readers as well as Truman and Roosevelt specialists.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7432-0243-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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