Franklin and Lucy by Joseph E. PersicoReally 2.5 stars for historical relevance. Of course the story was an interesting one, and one gets the feeling Mr. Persico has done his homework in terms of 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 wasnt 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 unabashed partiarchal perspective and bias.
His bias against Eleanor Roosevelt in just about every realm, but particularly physical appeal, was offensive to me. He judges her worth as a wife against the apparently more attractive Lucy Mercer mainly on the basis of how appealing she was to men. AND how he felt she measured up to what FDR could have obtained in regard to the beauties of his time. Its nauseating, actually. A great and world-changing woman like Eleanor Roosevelt, who clearly had a strong hand in FDRs success, and Persico NEVER acknowledges this. In fact throughout the account--which I should mention does not have enough Lucy Mercer content to warrant the title at all--he takes overt jabs at Eleanor Roosevelt that suggest she was a nag, was unfulfilling sexually, and paints Lucy Mercer as an ethereal beauty and proper lady who no man would have been able to resist.
In fact, this book was highly sexist in a number of ways, portraying Lucy Mercer as infinitely more appealing also because she catered to FDRs personal needs so much more effectively (or so he determines) than Eleanor did, or how she didnt tax his intellect or interrupt his thoughts, etc.
Although the book is ostensibly about FDR and Lucy, he spends a good amount of text on various nasty relatives assessment of Eleanor, even (I feel) contextualizing her own childrens quotes to form a highly unflattering picture of her. He makes a big play at definitively proving ERs lesbian relationships, which he cannot substantiate, and further seems to use these allegations in an unflattering light--which I felt he was using as an argument to justify FDRs relationship with Lucy Mercer.
I did enjoy the historical components and learned quite a lot about these people who I previously knew nothing about, but I cant recommend this so-called biography. The writing style is sufficiently compelling, but a bit old-style, and I felt information was presented without journalistic integrity. For instance, if Eleanor was reported to be one way by a friend or relative, Persico would find a conflicting report that supported a less flattering view of ER. He did the same with FDR. The only player in this story that he seemed utterly enamored with was Lucy Mercer, who he spends paragraphs describing as angelic, entirely ladylike, with a captivating smile, blah, blah, blah.
10 Things You May Not Know About the Roosevelts
The Roosevelt family is an American business and political family from New York whose members have included two United States Presidents , a First Lady ,  and various merchants, politicians, inventors, clergymen, artists, and socialites. Progeny of a midth century Dutch immigrant to New Amsterdam , many members of the family became locally prominent in New York City business and politics and intermarried with prominent colonial families. Two distantly related branches of the family from Oyster Bay on Long Island and Hyde Park in Dutchess County rose to national political prominence with the elections of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt — and his fifth cousin Franklin D. The earliest known ancestor of the family was a man from the Netherlands named Claes van Rosenvelt. It has been suggested [ by whom? While evidence suggests that Claes van Rosenvelt indeed came from the Tholen region where the Van Roosevelts were landowners, no records exist that prove that he is related to the noble family. It may simply be a coincidence, or Claes van Rosenvelt may have chosen the name purposefully because of its noble origins or to honor his local amt lord, as was common practice for peasants of the time.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: 7 Fascinating Facts About FDR
Franklin Roosevelt was related to 11 other presidents. It seems like every day there is a new report tracing the genealogical roots of the American presidents: Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush were seventh cousins four times removed , and Jimmy Carter and George Washington were ninth cousins six times removed. Another famous relative? His wife, Eleanor. Fifth cousins once removed , Franklin and Eleanor had met briefly as children—although neither remembered the occasion.
Roosevelt 's four terms in office, making her the longest serving First Lady of the United States. President Harry S. Truman later called her the "First Lady of the World" in tribute to her human rights achievements. Roosevelt was a member of the prominent American Roosevelt and Livingston families and a niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. At 15, she attended Allenwood Academy in London and was deeply influenced by its headmistress Marie Souvestre. Returning to the U.
Her father, Elliot, a brother of Theodore Roosevelt , died as a result of alcoholism when she was 10 years old. As a result, Eleanor was raised by the extended Roosevelt family and met her future husband for the first time when she was just two years old and he was four. They saw each other frequently at dances and parties and over the years became very close. In , a year-old Franklin proposed marriage to the year-old Eleanor; the couple wed two years later on St. Former President Theodore Roosevelt gave away the bride.