The Gatekeeper: Missy Lehand, Fdr, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency
The first biography of arguably the most influential member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration, Marguerite "Missy" LeHand, FDR's de facto chief of staff, who has been misrepresented, mischaracterized, and overlooked throughout history...until now. Widely considered the first female presidential chief of staff, Marguerite "Missy" LeHand was the right-hand woman to Franklin Delano Roosevelt--both personally and professionally--for more than twenty years. Although her official title as personal secretary was relatively humble, her power and influence were unparalleled. Everyone in the White House knew one truth: If you wanted access to Franklin, you had to get through Missy. She was one of his most trusted advisors, affording her a unique perspective on the president that no one else could claim, and she was deeply admired and respected by Eleanor and the Roosevelt children. With unprecedented access to Missy's family and original source materials, journalist Kathryn Smith tells the captivating and forgotten story of the intelligent, loyal, and clever woman who had a front-row seat to history in the making. The Gatekeeper is a thoughtful, revealing unsung-hero story about a woman ahead of her time, the true weight of her responsibility, and the tumultuous era in which she lived--and a long overdue tribute to one of the most important female figures in American history.
-In The Gatekeeper, Kathryn Smith does full justice to the fascinating and heartbreaking life of Missy LeHand, who rose from a working-class background to become a close confidant and trusted adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of the most influential figures in his administration. Although Missy's total devotion to FDR made her indispensable to him, she sacrificed much in the process, including other personal relationships and, ultimately, her life. Thanks to Smith, she is -- at long last -- getting the recognition she deserves.---Lynne Olson, author of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941
Kathryn Smith s The Gatekeeper is a vivid, much-needed life of one of the least-known but most consequential figures in FDR s immediate circle, Missy LeHand. Anyone interested in Roosevelt, the New Deal or the path toward global war will want to snap it up.--Geoffrey C. Ward, author of A First Class Temperament: The Emergence of FDR"
Despite the many shelves of books written on the personal and political life of Franklin D. Roosevelt, we have no biography of Marguerite 'Missy' LeHand, FDR s close friend and aide. She was with him and vital to his progress -- from the earliest days of his affliction with polio in 1921 to the world crisis of 1941. Now Kathryn Smith is assembling the written materials and the personal remembrances of Missy s family to tell a most important story about America s most successful twentieth century president. --Frank Costigliola, author of Roosevelt s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2012), editor of the George F. Kennan diaries, and a Professor of History at the University of Connecticut"
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