Franklin and Lucy
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Franklin and Lucy

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was arguably the greatest figure of the twentieth century. While FDR�s official circle was predominantly male, it was his relationships with women�particularly with Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd�that most vividly bring to light the human being beneath this towering statesman. It is no coincidence that Rutherfurd was with Roosevelt the day he died i...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Random House
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Judy
At its heart, a study of the immense female influences that were such a part of FDR's life, beginning with the unconditional, however smotherine, love of his mother and ending with the presence of Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd who was with him at his death. An unflinching examination of his complex relationship with Eleanor. Also includes is "semi-married" years with Missy LeHand and other women who were important figures in orbit around the wheelchair bound president. This book definitely adds to the...more
Mikey B.
Being an admirer of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and having visited Hyde Park a few times I found this book insightful and fascinating. Do not read this for a political biography (instead try Conrad Black’s monumental biography of Franklin Roosevelt). Mr. Persico tells of the warmth of F.D.R. in his relationships with the diverse women in his life – his mother Sara, Eleanor and his ‘possible’ extra-marital relationships with Lucy Mercer and Marguerite (Missy) LeHand.

With Lucy Mercer he had a...more
Katie Abbott Harris
I had never read a Roosevelt biography before, and this was a fascinating pick. Roosevelt was a great leader, and he is seen in most other biographies as a mythical and ethical figure in American history. This particular book does not focus on his extraordinary presidency, rather it takes a deep look at the man himself, and the various women who shaped his life. Franklin had multiple infidelities, the most famous and passionate of which was with Mrs. Lucy Rutherford and spanned many years, conti...more
Judy
Borrowed this from Ron ages ago...finally have time to pick it up. So far it provides a (mostly) sympathetic view of the sociological and psychological aspects of FDR's relationships with the women in his life.
Enjoyed this book thoroughly. The focus was not on the question of sexual liasons, but rather on the aspects of FDR's personality (and of the women important to him) that required female companionship and adulation. The parallels with other men of power were quite obvious. In another time...more
ShareStories
"Franklin and Lucy" by Joseph E. Persico brings together all the currently available information on Franklin Roosevelt's relationship with Lucy Mercer, with whom he had an affair prior to being stricken with polio. It also highlights his relationship with all the other "special" women who surrounded him throughout his life.

I was especially heartened that this author included Anna Roosevelt, FDR's daughter, among the voices he includes. Two of FDR's sons, Elliott and James, have both written boo...more
Maxanna Lucas
Though the story was engaging as I was driving to and from Chicago to see my newest Grandson it plowed no new ground. It did provide the some details that had been mined from the papers of Lucy Rutherford as to her relationship with Franklin Roosevelt in the overarching story of Franklin and Eleanor and Lucy et al there was no new insight. I left with the same understanding as when I started. I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading- but though this book captures the personal story of Franklin...more
Annette
I've read other books about the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt along with books such as Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Relationship Between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley, so I was excited when I saw Franklin and Lucy: Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life by Joseph Perisco on the LibraryThing Early Reviewer list.[return][return]With so many books available on this topic, I wondered what new information Joseph Persico would provide....more
Lisa
I have read many biographies of FDR and Eleanor, but this one was interesting because it brought some new facts to my understanding of FDR's story, most notably about the longevity of his relationship with Lucy Mercer and about the really tragic end of Missy LeHand.

Overall, this was a compassionate and interesting look at FDR as a real person and the moral gray area he and those around him inhabited. Persico related the story without passing judgment and offered interesting theories of how the w...more
Sheila
Reading this one for my library book club. Co-discussion leader is a big FDR fan, so this should be interesting...

Finished it! Not something I would have picked up on my own, but I'm glad I read it. Interesting how some of the ladies at the discussion felt it was a little too much like a tabloid. I know one of them didn't come to the discussion because she didn't want to know all these details--and ruin her great esteem for FDR. I thought Persico gives a very human portrait of all the "character...more
Simon
Terrific read, and I hadn't really expected it to be. But Persico writes with great sensitivity about Eleanor, Lucy Rutherfurd, Sara Roosevelt, Anna Roosevelt --- really, about all of the women whose lives intersected with F.D.R.'s. Far from diminishing Roosevelt, for my taste it actually enhanced several of the biographies that I have read. It is easily the best treatment of the Roosevelt marriage as a marriage, largely because he draws Lucy Mercer from the shadows. Persico had access to hither...more
Philip
The Roosevelts - Eleanor and Franklin - are my heroine and hero - separately and together they made lemons out of lemonade, and made and shaped history. As the author says in his introduction, it's pretty much impossible to separate FDR from the women in his life and their effect on him, including his mother, the formidable Sara Delano Roosevelt, and Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, whose affair with FDR was to have a dramatic and long-lasting effect on his marriage to Eleanor.

Franklin and Lucy might ju...more
Pamela
Really only 2.5 stars. Of course the story was an interesting one, and one gets the feeling Mr. Persico has done his homework in terms of the combing the official and unofficial historical record. But I had issues with the way he presented the story, as well as the players in it. This wasn't his fiction, yet he introduces each and every "character" with his personal assessment of their physical beauty. Every assessment he made about Eleanor and FDR and Lucy Mercer seemed to be grounded in an una...more
Miles
Sure Jean Edward Smith's FDR is a more serious political biography, but this is a lot more interesting. It would be too dismissive to call this the National Enquirer version of Roosevelt, as if it merely addressed our curiosity about who really had sex with whom, when and why. While Persico's telling reveals FDR as a shallow cad, it also shows him grow and change and reveals and explores his famed exuberant resilience. Then, also, FDR did have a unique position - do ordinary human expectations a...more
BGP
When it comes to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, politicos and casual students of history should begin their studies by perusing any number of the popular biographies and political histories regarding the New Deal. However, if, after such a period of study, an individual remains intrigued by the personal and private relations of FDR, Franklin and Lucy could very well be the book for him or her. In this work, Joseph Persico presents an informative and all too readable examination of Roosevelt's relati...more
Kristin
The book was well written and well researched. I enjoy reading about the lives of interesting people like Roosevelt but I was mostly dissapointed by the choices he made and the people around him who justifed them. He had lots of good excuses for doing what he did. He also accomplished some amazing things as President and a polio victim. But as a personality I read more than one witness that he was shallow and immature. This was from some of the people that actually claimed to like him. All in al...more
Pamela
This was really good and very readable. It explores the relationships of FDR with the women of his life and does NOT paint him as the great white father; the book deals more with the man himself. It seems that women adored him and that he expected and tolerated nothing less than female adoration. The book presents boths pros and cons regarding FDR's mother's control of his family, the status of his marriage, Eleanor's possible lesbian relationships, FDR's long term affair with Lucy Mercer, as we...more
Jillian
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Persico presents lush biographical details about one of America's most enigmatic couples. I felt completely swept away by the intimate details presented and could not put the book down until I finished. This is a very different portrait of the Roosevelts than I have previously read. Very impressed with the scholarship and research that went into this work. My only criticism is that at times there was more than enough expositing of the details of daily l...more
Vicki
Though this not a memoir, it reads as such. Gave me more insight into FDR and how his relationship with his mother, wife, and liaisons
helped to create his persona.
Louis
Jun 20, 2008 Louis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: American history buffs
Overall a fascinating new look at FDR's life, especially in the way his complex relationships with women shaped his life and political career. At times, though, Persico seems to doubt that's a good enough story and he all too often veers into the "did they or didn't they" line of inquiry both with Franklin and Eleanor's personal relationships. This might not be so bad if not for the fact that he usually can't give a strong argument either way. When that happens more than once or twice, it feels...more
Barbara
Wow, I guess power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Poor Eleanor--this guy certainly had the women lining up to care for him (be his assistant- ha!) Of course, Eleanor was gettin a little companionship elsewhere as well. Very interesting. Times were so different then--many people didn't even know the President was in a wheelchair. Now they can't sneeze without everyone knowing about it.
Perryville Library
Against the backdrop of Roosevelt's 12+ year administration, Persico delves into his relationships with the many and varied women in his life; his wife Eleanor (an icon in her own right whose commitment to social issues, equality, and the forming of the United Nations mirrored her husband's), his mother Sarah Delano, Norway's Princess Martha, NY Post editor Dorothy Schiff, as well as cousins, aunts, and of course, Lucy Mercer. This rare look at Roosevelt and the women who shaped and impacted his...more
Kate Lawrence
I was totally engrossed in the intertwined stories of the women who were close to FDR. The author's writing style is so skilled that he "disappears," so that the reader doesn't notice a narrator's presence. FDR's stamina in dealing with his disability is amazing. Some of the women in his life are heroic, some are tragic, some a little of both, but all are completely fascinating, and the reader can find out about them without having to wade through detailed descriptions of politics.
Julie
I have read many books about the many Roosevelts, but seems like I always pick up new things. This one focused the most on FDR's relationship to Lucy Mercer, but also discussed his relationships to other important females in his life. I thought Persico gave a very well rounded viewpoint on FDR, ER and FDR's mother. You realize how impossible it would be for FDR and ER to live their lives the same way they did in today's "put it all out there" society.
Chris
Persico's book about Franklin and Lucy covers a lot more than just the relationship between FDR and Lucy Mercer, but this relationship is obviously one of the major topics. FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt each had an immense gravitational pull over others, which sometimes led to a lot of unusual situations and, for some of these folks, a lot of pain. It provides insight to a very complicated set of relationships. I enjoyed this book and recommend it.
Catherine
Jun 04, 2008 Catherine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: American History Buffs
This book features biographies of FDR, his mother Sara, wife Eleanor, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, Missy LeHand, and several other women who had pivotal roles in his life. I can't recall reading any other biographies on FDR, but I would imagine that a lot of the facts would have already been covered in previous works. I found this book intriguing and well written and would recommend it to American history buffs with particular interest in US presidents.
Brad
Favorable, but clear eyed view of Roosevelt. The book focuses on his personal life and the life in the White House. The overall tone of the book is positive towards Roosevelt, but you end up with the impression that he was charming, yet shallow. He seemed like he would have been great fun to be around, but only as long as you were useful. He seemed to care deeply about Lucy, who was portrayed as a great lady, but less so about his family.
Lee
Oct 27, 2008 Lee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves history and romance
Recommended to Lee by: my sister in law
I think FDR is a facinating person and love Eleanor. At first this is a very sweet almost Cinderella love story but then you see the way Franklin and Eleanor's lives have been woven with others. In many ways it is a very sad story of an amazing couple who had such a strong influence on our country and our own lives. I highly recommend it. It is not a quick read and in fact took me quite a bit of time, but it is well worth the time.
Rachel
*Spoiler* FDR DIES
Never have I understood the reasoning behind the play by play leading up to the death of the study is a thing in biographies. It is though. an annoying thing. This book was ok. It's hard to really know what to rate things when you like all of the characters less than when you began the reading. I can't really criticize his style it's typically biographical. I give it a solo. Meh.
Sue
loved it! fast paced, full of historical bits along w/ the women in his life, the rich life, Sara directing Franklin, Eleanor coming to her own, Lorena, Dorothy, Missy, his new home on the Hudson which he maneuvered Dorothy into buying part of the land, his drive, his big personality beyond polio, Warm Springs as a respite and more..book group choice
Susan
Oct 18, 2008 Susan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of history or biography
I wish I could say something positive other than the book was well written.

Not even half way through I wondered if I'd care anything about any of the people being written about. Answer at the end: I didn't.

The characters were - surprisingly to me - pretty much universally unlikeable, shallow, manipulative, and very disappointing.
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Joseph E. Persico is the author of Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage; Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918–World War I and Its Violent Climax; Piercing the Reich; and Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, which was made into a television docudrama. He also collaborated with Colin Powell on his autobiography, My American Journey. He lives in Guilderland, New Y...more
More about Joseph E. Persico...
Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918 Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR & the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II Edward R. Murrow: An American Original

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