I really enjoyed this book. It covers familiar ground with FDR’s last year, but the emphasis here is on remembering that of course FDR didn’t know he was dying. It’s a useful reminder, because so many books fall into the trap of assuming he and everyone else knew he’d be gone in the spring of 1945, and if you set that aside and realize that he and everyone else was assuming he’d be in office in January 1949 absent a voluntary health-related resignation after the war – it changes things.
Roosevelt had been planning the postwar world for years through his work founding the United Nations, and Lelyveld goes through his juggling act with the UN, the war, and running for re-election at the same time. He is able to crossreference the usual accounts with recent new sources – the private journals and writings of the Canadian prime minister and FDR’s cousin Daisy Suckley, for example, and gain some additional insight into what FDR might have been thinking and intending.
Very good book, even if you’re not a FDR completist as I am beginning to be.