"FDR was the political glue that held the various factions together within the Democratic Party."

Most people who contract polio fall sick before the age of five. Yet one of the most famous polio sufferers, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, enjoyed vigorous health until he was thirty-nine. Newly unearthed medical records show he was also experiencing congestive heart failure, soaring blood pressure, and prostate cancer by the time he died in 1945. Given the global volatility during World War II, news that the president was a dying man would have suggested that the United States was vulnerable to attack from Germany. Thus, he was always falsely described as healthy, and all of his medical records were suppressed. By 1985, FDR and most of his inner circle were long dead, so why does a retired medical secretary's law firm refuse to release to her a document containing the truth about his condition? Can the author, a medical historian, prove FDR's deteriorating health directly impacted the war's outcome?

Goldsmith is a professor and surgeon with thirty-five years of experience. A lifelong interest in medical history and the belief that a nation's public should be kept apprised of the health of its leaders prompted dogged research that lasted ten years, ending in 1985 and resulting in this book. Two mysteries run concurrently through the narrative, shrouding important documents in secrecy and proving that preserving an illusion of strength or other fitness matters more than transparency to those closest to people in power. The text also discusses Roosevelt's reasons for seeking his final reelection and explains how Harry S. Truman, the most unlikely potential running mate available, became FDR'S last vice president. This book stands as a testament to the rewards of the relentless pursuit of truth for the good of the masses. Others may also relate to its exploration of the entirely human frailties of an iconic politician.

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