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FDR's Deadly Secret

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Overview


When Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1945, his lifelong physician swore that the president had always been in perfect health. Twenty-five years later, his cardiologist admitted that the president suffered from hypertension, and that contrary to what the public was led to believe, his death was “a cataclysmic event waiting to happen.” But even this was a carefully constructed deceit, designed to protect the reputation of a man that led a country through war, and maintained ...
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FDR's Deadly Secret

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Overview


When Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1945, his lifelong physician swore that the president had always been in perfect health. Twenty-five years later, his cardiologist admitted that the president suffered from hypertension, and that contrary to what the public was led to believe, his death was “a cataclysmic event waiting to happen.” But even this was a carefully constructed deceit, designed to protect the reputation of a man that led a country through war, and maintained until now.

This persuasive re-examination of Roosevelt’s last years reveals a more profoundly disabled president than the nation knew, and asks whether Roosevelt should be criticized or celebrated for shouldering the weight of a wartime presidency in his compromised state.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite the lurid title, this is a superior addition to the diseases-of-famous-men genre. Journalist Fettmann and neurologist Lomazow assert that they've discovered the true cause of FDR's 1945 death, building on a 1979 medical paper by Dr. Harry Goldsmith and revelations in the 1995 publication of the diary of FDR's cousin Daisy Suckley. A lifetime smoker, Roosevelt suffered from extremely high blood pressure. In 1944, a cardiologist found him in severe heart failure. Although historians blame these for his fatal stroke at the age of 63, the authors point out that photographs show a dark spot over his left eyebrow that grew throughout the 1930s. Experts nowadays agree it resembles a melanoma, a highly malignant skin cancer that often spreads to the brain. Metastatic cancer, not heart disease, may have produced the increasing frailty, weight loss, and confusion that alarmed observers during his final year. We will never know the truth, but the authors make a reasonable case. As a bonus, they recount Roosevelt's numerous medical problems and questionable care at the hands of a personal physician who relentlessly assured the public of the president's excellent health and possibly destroyed FDR's medical records after his death. (Jan.)
Library Journal
FDR is a natural President for conspiracy buffs since he served the longest in office and had a penchant for deviousness. Critics still accuse him of setting up the Pearl Harbor attack, although there's no smoking gun, as well as running for a fourth term in 1944 as a virtual dead man. The cause of his death early in 1945 seems to confirm this charge if not the additional one that he had "given away" Eastern Europe to Joseph Stalin at the Yalta conference in part because of his ill health. The fact that FDR was essentially the world's first paraplegic president serves to add more smoke to the fire. Lomazow, a neurologist, and journalist Fettman team up here to argue that FDR's death resulted from melanoma that had spread to his brain and abdomen, compounded by a series of strokes. His missing medical file, the duplicity of his doctors, and the belated publication of the diary of Margaret "Daisy" Suckley, FDR's distant cousin and close confidant, seem to lend support to this thesis. VERDICT Unlike most conspiracy buffs, the authors are objective enough to admit that their thesis is circumstantial and even cite the fact that FDR biographer Geoffrey C. Ward remains unconvinced. Regardless, their book is readable and interesting and should appeal to both specialists and the general public. Recommended.—William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Kirkus Reviews
Lomazow (Neurology/Mount Sinai School of Medicine) and New York Post associate editorial-page editor Fettmann challenge the conventional wisdom about what killed President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the last few years of his life, Roosevelt's health rapidly declined, and he became visibly frail and thin. On April 12, 1945, the president complained of a headache and collapsed and died shortly afterward. The accepted cause of Roosevelt's death, as diagnosed by his cardiologist, was a sudden, unpredictable brain hemorrhage. Lomazow and Fettmann present a circumstantial case that Roosevelt was actually felled by long-known skin cancer that had metastasized to his brain. They also charge that Roosevelt's physicians and advisors kept the president's cancer secret from the public, before and after his death. The skin cancer, the authors write, was a fast-growing dark brown spot above the president's left eyebrow, which is apparent in photographs. Photos from the last few years of his life show telltale markers of undocumented surgery on the spot. By then Roosevelt showed several signs of metastasized melanoma, the authors claim, including severe stomach and vision problems. Lomazow and Fettmann's analysis of the president's last months, including his final speech to Congress in March 1945, where he rambled and was clearly unwell, is effective and thought-provoking in this context. The president's fatal brain hemorrhage, they point out, could also have been caused by a metastatic tumor. It's also easy to entertain the authors' charges of a medical cover-up, given Roosevelt's long history of hiding his medical issues from the public-in particular, his longtime paralysis. But even the authors notethat there's no smoking gun to prove their theories-there was no autopsy on the president, and his medical records are long lost. As a result, despite the authors' impressive research, much of the book is based in mere conjecture. They also do their argument no favors by quoting sensationalistic magazines and conspiracy theorists from the '40s, who share their views. An intriguing but ultimately unconvincing what-if about FDR's death. Agent: Lawrence Kirshbaum/LJK Literary
From the Publisher

David Margolick, author ofBeyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink
“Anyone reading this fascinating and disturbing book will have to reassess Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose insistence on remaining president despite an arsenal of illnesses subjected his country to grave danger in the most perilous of times. FDR’s Deadly Secret makes us wonder how much different history would be had Roosevelt been healthy, and how catastrophic a turn it nearly took because he was not. Scientifically and politically savvy (and suspenseful!), it offers a highly original take on epochal events.”

Slate.com
“[An] astounding argument…If Lomazow and Fettman are right, Republican Thomas E. Dewey or a different Democrat should have been elected president in 1944. In that case, Harry S. Truman, FDR's vice president, would almost certainly not have been commander-in-chief from 1945 to 1952. The Cold War and subsequent American history might have taken a very different path.”

Library Journal
“Unlike most conspiracy buffs, the authors are objective enough to admit that their thesis is…Regardless, their book is readable and interesting and should appeal to both specialists and the general public.”

Washington Times
“a valuable contribution to presidential history”

The Boston Globe
“The authors present their material in an engaging, though not sensationalistic manner. As a result, “FDR’s Deadly Secret’’ will find a wide following among those interested in one of American history’s most compelling medical mysteries.””

Macleans
“Neurologist Steven Lomazow and journalist Eric Fettmann… are the first to crack wide open the secrecy that has shrouded Roosevelt’s health until now”

Palm Beach Post
"Well-told ... The authors make a good case for their thesis ... Lomazow and Fettmann have gone as deeply into the medical evidence as is possible, and produced a convincing sidelight to history."

Irish Times
FDR’s Deadly Secret is about one man and his myriad health problems. It is about the obsessive secrecy designed to keep the nature and extent of his illnesses away from public scrutiny… This is a fascinating medical detective story.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586489069
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 973,023
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Steven Lomazow, M.D., is a board-certified neurologist in practice for more than twenty-five years. He is assistant professor of neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a member of the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners and former president of the Neurological Association of New Jersey.

Eric Fettmann is associate editorial-page editor of the New York Post, where he has spent most of his thirty-plus-year journalism career. He is the former managing editor of The Jerusalem Post and has written for New York, The Nation, National Review, and USA Today.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 An Orator Stumbles 1

2 Wilson's Example 15

3 Triumph Over Mortal Matter 25

4 Is Franklin D. Roosevelt Physically Fit to Be President? 41

5 A Career Navy Medical Officer of No Particular Distinction 51

6 The Brown Blob 63

7 The Beginning of the End 77

8 Enter Bruenn-But When? 93

9 Not Planning for the Succession 115

10 An Avalanche of Rumors 129

11 "He'll Come Out of It. He Always Does" 149

12 Yalta 161

13 "Did You See This Thing Coming?" 171

14 The Cover-Up Continues 187

15 A Certain Narrative 203

16 The Next Deadly Secret 215

Acknowledgments 223

Notes 229

Bibliography 251

Index 261

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2013

    Greywing

    Yep. We can go back to camp, but if any other imposter strikes, we can fall back here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    Interesting

    Moved a little slow at times. Interesting insight into the way decisions were made during a veru critical period of history. An excellent exapmle of the people beingg sheltered from the trust ina destructive way.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2010

    Everyone should read this book.

    Everyone should read this book. Maybe I should say everyone
    MUST read this book. The evidence adds up. FDR had serious
    medical challenges. The public was not told. We were
    heading toward disaster. I am so glad this book was written
    and was WELL written also. Brings up topics and challenges
    we face today and will face in the future. Life is not so
    simple now and the public needs a president, and a leader
    who is healthy and able to lead, no matter what party.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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