In 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt—the 1920 vice presidential candidate on the losing Democratic ticket—was overcome by an illness that left him unable to walk. He retired to his family estate in Hyde Park with his wife, Eleanor, who was suffering emotional problems of her own. For the Roosevelts, it was the low point of their lives. At that juncture, Roosevelt’s advisor, Louis Howe, moved in with them, leaving his own family behind. Howe set to work to lift Roosevelt’s spirits and maintain his connection to the world of politics. At the same time, he encouraged Eleanor to develop the self-esteem that would allow her to realize her full potential. Three years later, against all expectations, FDR was once again a key player on the national political stage and Eleanor had blossomed into the public figure we all know and love.
With her signature insight and wit, Julie Fenster presents a vivid, behind-the-scenes portrait of the world of the Roosevelts during this critical time, and the unique relationship Franklin, Eleanor, and Louis developed. Ultimately, Fenster shows that Louis Howe was the true mastermind behind Franklin Roosevelt’s resurgence, helping him to overcome terrible odds and fulfill his great destiny.
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"Fenster presents first-rate insights into Howe's motivations and the ways in which he overcame Eleanor's initial dislike to become an important political mentor to her. This enjoyable read will appeal to presidential history buffs and those interested in the evolving role of the presidential assistant. Essential for all collections on U.S. Presidents." -- Library Journal
“Once again Julie Fenster delivers the goods. FDR’s Shadow is a brilliant look at how the indomitable and enlightened Louis Howe became the mega-advisor of the Roosevelt Clan. A must read for anybody interested in U.S. political history. Every page sings.” --Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.
Julie M. Fenster is the critically acclaimed author of The Case of Abraham Lincoln and co-author with Douglas Brinkley of the New York Times bestseller Parish Priest and the PBS documentary Faith and the Founders of America. Fenster’s previous books include the award-winning Ether Day and Race of the Century. She lives in Central New York.
Julie M. Fenster