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An intriguing but ultimately unconvincing what-if about FDR’s death.

Lomazow (Neurology/Mount Sinai School of Medicine) and New York Post associate editorial-page editor Fettmann challenge the conventional wisdom about what killed President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In the last few years of his life, Roosevelt’s health rapidly declined, and he became visibly frail and thin. On April 12, 1945, the president complained of a headache and collapsed and died shortly afterward. The accepted cause of Roosevelt’s death, as diagnosed by his cardiologist, was a sudden, unpredictable brain hemorrhage. Lomazow and Fettmann present a circumstantial case that Roosevelt was actually felled by long-known skin cancer that had metastasized to his brain. They also charge that Roosevelt’s physicians and advisors kept the president’s cancer secret from the public, before and after his death. The skin cancer, the authors write, was a fast-growing dark brown spot above the president’s left eyebrow, which is apparent in photographs. Photos from the last few years of his life show telltale markers of undocumented surgery on the spot. By then Roosevelt showed several signs of metastasized melanoma, the authors claim, including severe stomach and vision problems. Lomazow and Fettmann’s analysis of the president’s last months, including his final speech to Congress in March 1945, where he rambled and was clearly unwell, is effective and thought-provoking in this context. The president’s fatal brain hemorrhage, they point out, could also have been caused by a metastatic tumor. It’s also easy to entertain the authors’ charges of a medical cover-up, given Roosevelt’s long history of hiding his medical issues from the public—in particular, his longtime paralysis. But even the authors note that there’s no smoking gun to prove their theories—there was no autopsy on the president, and his medical records are long lost. As a result, despite the authors’ impressive research, much of the book is based in mere conjecture. They also do their argument no favors by quoting sensationalistic magazines and conspiracy theorists from the ’40s, who share their views.

An intriguing but ultimately unconvincing what-if about FDR’s death.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58648-744-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2009

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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

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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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