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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship Between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley

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3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  117 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
For the first time in paperback, the highly acclaimed, remarkably intimate, and surprisingly revealing secret diary of the woman who spent more private time with FDR than any other person during his years in the White house. At once a love story and a major contribution to history, it offers dramatic new insights into FDR—both the man and the president.

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ebook, 464 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published April 12th 1995)
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Susan Albert
An excellent introduction to the life of Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, known primarily for her friendship with FDR. Daisy was a remarkable observer of the life around her. Ward's selection from her diaries and letters (exchanged with FDR) gives us a glimpse into her outer and inner life. But just a glimpse--wish there were more!
Eve
Sep 05, 2012 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: FDR completists, historians
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were the Bill and Hillary of their time. He was charismatic, energetic and flirtatious, while she had a strong personality but did not blossom out from behind her man until relatively late in their marriage. Franklin was also liable to wander, and although much ink has been devoted to his affair with Lucy Mercer, the relationship he had with Margaret 'Daisy' Suckley was more of a romance than anything (despite what the Bill Murray movie 'Hyde Park on the Hudson' wo ...more
Patricia
Jan 22, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it
I am admittedly enamored with stories of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. I've read many of the books, seen many of the movies - most recently Hyde Park on Hudson - and find them all interesting. Closest Companion is the book that inspired the movie Hyde Park on Hudson, and it provides a new perspective on FDR and to a small extent, Eleanor. I think the book could have been titled CLOSE Companion because it was made clear that other people like Laura Delano, Lucy Rutherfurd and the Crown Princess of N ...more
ShareStories
Closest Companion is a series of letters and diary entries tracing the relationship between Franklin Roosevelt and his distant cousin Margaret Suckley. Most of the letters, and all of the diary entries are written by Suckley from 1933 to FDR's death in 1945.

The question is asked by Geoffrey C. Ward, the editor of the book, whether Suckley intended for her letters and diary to be published. I do think she intended them to be read, and possibly, published, because she edited some of FDRs letters
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Carol Ann
Aug 22, 2012 Carol Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has taken a little more time to write. At the start of the book I thought, oh Franklin, you and your adoring females. But Margaret Suckley turned out to be more than "another female". Yes, she did adore FDR, but she came along when Eleanor had more or less moved out of the White House. Who would have guessed that a President involved in WWII, could be lonely. Even after reading copious books on FDR, I never really picked that up. Yes, this "diary" was comprised by a woman who saw no ...more
Marshall
Jul 29, 2015 Marshall rated it it was amazing
Margaret Suckley was an odd witness to history, but in the end she saw, preserved and recorded enough for several lifetimes. She was the unmarried representative of an old established family in the Hudson River with tenuous connections to Franklin Roosevelt. She had conventional tastes, interests (gardening, dog breeding, local history), and prejudices. She lived into her 90s and then it was discovered that she had retained a series of letters and diaries that recorded her friendship with FDR.

Ma
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Persephone
Apr 30, 2013 Persephone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw the film Hyde Park on Hudson a few months ago, I had never heard of Margaret Suckley (pronounced "Sookley"), but I do know something of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his era, so I found myself questioning what I was seeing. Of course, the thing with so-called historical films is that there is a time constraint and a need to create dramatic tension, so you know the facts are going to be meddled with. Still, the President getting a blow-job in an automobile in a secluded field? A bit Bi ...more
Paula
The title of this book is very misleading. I don't think Margaret "Daisy" Suckley was FDR's closest companion; she was just one of many satellite companions for a man who couldn't be alone - partly because his paralysis made him dependent on others for help, and partly because I think he just really didn't like being totally alone. So when he wanted to be alone, he called Daisy. He could be "alone" while still having a person in the room with him, because, as he told her over and over again, he ...more
Liz Murray
Aug 21, 2013 Liz Murray rated it it was amazing
I was inspired to read this book by seeing the movie Hyde Park on Hudson. The movie was so disappointing in the typical way that Hollywood oversimplifies and adds a sexual component to the plot, even though it is not necessary. For those of my friends that are F.D.R. fans, and especially for my high school and college friends who live or lived in or near Hyde Park, you will enjoy reading this book. Geoffrey Ward presents the letters between FDR and Margaret Suckley, his cousin and confidante, as ...more
Thebruce1314
There was so much hype on the back of this book about how important this research has been in understanding FDR, I was expecting to find big revelations about what happened behind the scenes, particularly during the war years. Instead, I found out how much the president liked to fish, what he liked to eat, and just how much his cousin Daisy worshipped the ground that he walked on. I would guess less than 10 percent of what she had to say would be of any interest to historians unless they were pu ...more
Jgfunk
Dec 06, 2014 Jgfunk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've tried to read this book twice. The first time I had no luck. I got about a quarter the way through. then I watched Ken Burn's special on the Roosevelts and decided I would try another try. Well I didn't have much luck later and I think it's just the format. The letters are not that interesting in a lot of cases and there's some references to people I don't know. The author tries to give the context/ background but for some reason this one just wasn't working for me. I do recommend the Ken B ...more
Nancy Loe
Sep 30, 2007 Nancy Loe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Ward, an author well-versed in Rooseveltiana, does a great job editing Suckley's journals. It's a great behind-the-scenes look at FDR's administration(s), but however much I admire the man, I want to clobber him for being so emotional seductive to defenseless women. I'd always read that Daisy Suckley was a cousin, but she was such a remote one that FDR had no compunctions about romancing her. I'm glad she had excitement in a brief period of her long life, but I still want to clobber FDR ...more
Gregory
May 14, 2016 Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Margaret "Daisy" Suckley was a distant cousin of FDR's but a near neighbor in Dutchess County. They forged a deep friendship and she, apparently, became his closest and secret confidante. She was present during the war years on many occasions when the good and great were visiting FDR in Washington and Hyde Park and her diary records these occasions. The book also contains her contemporaneous correspondence to him and, to a lesser extent, his to her. Fascinating for anyone who is interested in th ...more
Jean
I purchased this book after touring FDR's library and home in Hyde Park, NY. It provided a personal side to our former President. Margaret Suckley or Daisy was a close companion of FDR's and his neighbor in Hyde Park. She was devoted to FDR and this book was composed of letters between the two. The book presented interesting historical information from WWII and the gilted age of the rich railroad barons.
Jim Short
Jun 15, 2015 Jim Short rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I'm sure its very informative and may provide great insights into the life and relationships in FDR's life. That said, however, it is a collection of excerps from letters between FDR and Daisy. There are some explanations slipped in that explain names and provide a meager background on some items but no narrative. I found it impossible to get interested in reading this. I was only able to plow through the first 45 pages before resorting to browsing the remainder of the book.
Candace
Jan 17, 2010 Candace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The diaries and letters of Daisy Suckley..some from FDR.. give some insight into the President (given her adoring stance I couldn't think of not capitalizing the P). Diaries and letters lack the narrative flow that makes easy or compulsive reading, but there are moments here of delightful behind the screen of privacy views and some provocative details on FDR's life and relationships that made our book group discussion interesting.
Ali
Jun 11, 2011 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Margaret Suckley was such a sweet woman. Her diaries and letters offer a unique glimpse into the private life of FDR. Geoffrey Ward's gentle editing allows the book to read like fiction, but each entry is full of history. My heart broke for her when she lost FDR and I was happy when she said she would go on, just like he would want her to.
Mary-Michelle Moore
Feb 02, 2013 Mary-Michelle Moore rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-ocpl
I know a bit about Eleanor and less about FDR so it was a great read in that respect but I wanted more of a biography of sorts rather than a collection of letters and diary entries with little commentary
Jim Blessing
Feb 02, 2013 Jim Blessing rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I decided to read this book after I saw the movie about FDR on the Hudson. The book is correspondence between FDR and his sixth cousin Daisy Suckley. It also contains diary entries. The book quite quickly became very boring and trite.
Kerry Kenney
Such a tender book. Enlarged my understanding of the great FDR. Excellent if you love to read about FDR.
Jackie R
It is simply a very long book compiled by the well known autobiographer of Margaret (Daisy) Suckley's letters and diaries of her life with her very 'close' distant cousin, FDR.
Bobbi
I found this to be very interesting an different view of an amazing man.

It took me a while to read since - read a couple books since I picked this one up. I recommend it to anyone,
R
R rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2015
Denise
Denise rated it really liked it
Mar 06, 2013
Gabby
Mar 27, 2014 Gabby marked it as started-and-stopped  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, historical
I plan on touring the mansion this summer, so I want to read all I can about Margaret Suckley.
Freda
Freda rated it liked it
May 16, 2014
Pat CORDES
Pat CORDES rated it it was amazing
Nov 21, 2014
Tracy Gales
Tracy Gales rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2015
Fleeta
Fleeta rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2014
Karen Mcelwee
Karen Mcelwee rated it it was ok
Oct 04, 2014
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Geoffrey Champion Ward is an author and screenwriter of various documentary presentations of American history. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1962.

He was an editor of American Heritage magazine early in his career. He wrote the television mini-series The Civil War with its director Ken Burns and has collaborated with Burns on every documentary he has made since, including Jazz and Baseball.
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