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Franklin and Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life, by Joseph E. Persico (Read by Len Cariou)

It's hard to believe that Franklyn Delano Roosevelt was known as an ineffective "mamma's boy" by his adolescent and college peers. The man who served multiple terms as President and led a country out of the Great Depression and almost to the successful conclusion of a world war is now seen as a strong ruler despite his physical limitations. Perhaps his young friends were not so far off the mark, though, because Franklyn was greatly influenced by the strong women in his life -- his mother, Sara, his wife, Eleanor, and his mistresses, most notably Lucy Mercer Rutherford.

In Franklin & Lucy, Joseph E. Persico outlines the events that led to Franklin's turning to Lucy and other women during his lifetime. He describes an authoritarian mother who was devoted to her only child, Franklin, and used money and intimidation to control as much of his life as she could. Although Eleanor fell in love with the dashing Franklin and bore him six children, she turned from him and pursued social causes and female friendships when she suspected him of infidelity. They remained strong supporters of each other's programs and political activities, but looked to others for love and comfort. Persico's straightforward account of the decades long romance between Lucy Mercer and FDR brings new insight about the man and his presidency. Lucy may have been FDR's true love, but she was not the only woman besides Eleanor who shared his affections. Persico tastefully details other involvements and puts them in historical perspective.

Joseph E. Persico is a respected historian and scholar. As such, he presents FDR, Eleanor and their contemporaries with knowledgeable accuracy. Len Cariou reads the audio book with an uncanny ability to imitate Eleanor's easily recognizable speech. His other characters are distinctive, if less familiar. This is an excellent addition to American history collections, because it provides a new perspective to biographical coverage of Franklin and Eleanor and helps listeners understand and appreciate the motivation for their actions, both personal and public.

Ruth Mormon

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