Franklin and Lucy, President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the other Remarkable Women in His Life, Joseph E. Persico -
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was arguably the greatest figure of the twentieth century. While FDR's official circle was predominately male, it was his relationship with women, particularly with Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, that most vividly bring to light the human being beneath this towering statesman. It is no coincidence that Rutherfurd was with Roosevelt the day he died at Warm Springs, Georgia, along with two other close women companions. In Franklin and Lucy, acclaimed author and historian Joseph E. Persico explores FDR's romance with Lucy Rutherfurd, which was far deeper and lasted much longer than was previously acknowledged. Persico's provocative conclusions about their relationship are informed by a revealing range of sources, including never before published letters and documents from Lucy Rutherfurd's estate that attest to the intensity and scope of the affair.
FDR's connection with Lucy also creates an opportunity for Persico to take a more penetrating look at the other women in FDR's life. We see Eleanor's eventual transformation from a repressed Victorian to perhaps one of the greatest women of her century; how the shaping hand of FDR's strongwilled mother helped to imbue him with the resolve to overcome personal and public adversity throughout his life, and how other women around FDR, including Missy Hand, and his close confidante, the obscure, Margaret "Daisy" Suckley, completed the world he inhabited.
An extraordinary look at the private life of a leader who continues to fascinate scholars and the general public alike. A more intimate portrait that we have heretofore had of this giant of American history.
And, Heirloom, Notes From an Accidental Tomato Farmer, Tim Stark -
Fourteen years ago, Tim Stark was living in Brooklyn, working days as a management consultant and writing unpublished short stories at night. One evening, chancing upon a dumpster full of discarded lumber, he carried the lumber home and built a germination rack for thousands of heirloom tomato seedlings. His crop soon outgrew the brownstone in which it had sprouted, forcing him to cart the seedlings to his family's inactive farm in Pennsylvania, where they were transplanted into the ground by hand. When favorable weather brought in a bumper crop, Tim hauled his unusual tomatoes to New York City's Union Square Greenmarket at a time when the tomato was unanimously red. The rest is history. Today, Eckerton Hill Farm does a booming trade in heirloom tomatoes and obscure chili peppers. Tim's tomatoes are featured on the menus of New York City's most demanding chefs and have even made the cover of Gourmet magazine.
Situated beautifully, Heirloom is an inspiring, elegiac, and gorgeously written memoir about rediscovering an older and still vital way of life.
And, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, a novel by David Wroblewski -
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelle's once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm, and into Edgar's mother's affections.
Grief stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.
David Wroblewski is a master storyteller and his breathtaking scenes, the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain, create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language and a compulsively readable modern classic -
Thank you, Bob Welch, for putting me on to this one. Absolutely unforgettable!
See you at Rylander!