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Franklin and Lucy

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  503 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's dalliances were first the subjects of whispers, then the topics of books. Of the latter, Joseph E. Persico's is the most inclusive. The author of Roosevelt's Secret War examines the four-term president's relationships with other women (including his mother, longtime secretary Missy LeHand, and distant cousin Daisy Suckley), but he pays special a ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Random House Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mahlon
Oct 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016

3.5

This book was much more salacious and speculative than I was expecting, but still a well-written book that sheds light into an often under explored corner of FDR's life.

I found Ted Barker's narration slightly distracting.
Pamela
Dec 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Judy
Aug 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
LaurieH118
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is much about Eleanor Roosevelt to admire. She had a purity and a passion that undoubtedly made the world a better place. But she wasn't easy. She didn't know how to be a wife or mother -- completely understandable when you look at the ruinous childhood she worked hard to overcome -- and seemed almost allergic to fun. As one Roosevelt insider said, "It is very hard to live with someone who is almost a saint."

And so, the way the Roosevelt marriage is portrayed in the Persico biography, it'
...more
Judy
Feb 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
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
Pam Jessup
2-1/2 stars. Thank goodness I listened to this on audio, because it felt like a slog most of the first half. Though I find some facets of the Roosevelts quite interesting, this selection didn't seem to have any new perspectives or information that made it special. Most of the book, I found myself wishing that the author focused more on Eleanor than FDR, and Lucy, though the author deemed her "title worthy" was never fully sketched in a meaningful way (at least in a fashion that I felt any connec ...more
Kate
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it isn't hard to find an interesting book about any member of the Roosevelt family, and I have read quite a stack of them. This is a good one. It presents FDR and Eleanor sympathetically and as they have seemed in other works devoted solely to their lives as individuals and as husband and wife. Franklin's mother Sara Delano Roosevelt has gotten her fair share of biographical ink and even Marguerite "Missy" Le Hand has been fully described elsewhere.

The two women who get a special spotlight in t
...more
Bill F.
Joseph Persico's Franklin and Lucy is simply a fabulous book. I can't put it more simply than that. As someone who thought he had read everything there was to read about Franklin Roosevelt, I can say that I went into the book with very low expectations. When I realized that I had read the first 100 pages at nearly one sitting, however, I realized I was - as Herman's Hermits once put it - into something good.

I won't go into the history between FDR and Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. Think John Edwards an
...more
Kelly
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was insightful on FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt's marriage, his numerous affairs, her rumor friendships and how they were both shaped because of the outside forces in their marriage.
It seems weird and almost unfathomable that family were not only expected but encouraged to marriage one another. James Roosevelt, FDR's father, tried to marry his cousin, Alice "Bye" Roosevelt, who would become Eleanor's Aunt. His first wife after all was a cousin. Luckily Bye let him down and successfully pai
...more
Miles
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Philip
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 j
...more
Lisa
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Laurie Hoppe
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
There is much about Eleanor Roosevelt to admire. She had a purity and a passion that undoubtedly made the world a better place. But she wasn't easy. She didn't know how to be a wife or mother -- completely understandable when you look at the ruinous childhood she worked hard to overcome -- and seemed almost allergic to fun. As one Roosevelt insider said, "It is very hard to live with someone who is almost a saint."

And so, the way the Roosevelt marriage is portrayed in the Persico biography, it's
...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
Sheila
Oct 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
BGP
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
ShareStories
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
"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
Lisa
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book about the early years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, their courtship and marriage, and their various relationships with others, particularly Franklin's affair with Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. Although it is not known if the relationship was ever consummated, it is believed by family members that Lucy was the love of Franklin's life. His secretary Missy LeHand and a distant cousin, Daisy Suckley, were also frequent companions. (You can learn more about Daisy in the ...more
Irving Koppel
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Persico's "Franklin and Lucy" shows a portion of FDR's life which has never been shown to such an extent. One surmises
from this work that the president needed the adulation of beautiful women such as Lucy and Missy LeHand to assure himself
that he was beloved. Since he and Eleanor were more or less forced to remain married after the Lucy Mercer affair in 1918
by Franklin's mother's threatening to cut off all his funds,he and his wife were married in name only. He always needed
a lovely woman in wh
...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
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Louis
May 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jillian
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-galleys
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
Perryville Library
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morgan, nonfiction
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
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
Julie
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
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Joseph E. Persico was 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 ...more
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