Cover image for Eleanor and Harry : the correspondence of Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman
Eleanor and Harry : the correspondence of Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2002]

Physical Description:
299 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Lisa Drew book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E807.1.R48 A4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E807.1.R48 A4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E807.1.R48 A4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"Eleanor and Harry -- even the title makes you want to pick up this book. That's a symbol of its value in drawing us into history....Since we know from hindsight that these two people helped to shape our world, we also understand that history is made by Eleanors and Harrys -- and that we could be one of them. Steve Neal has paid us the ultimate honor of creating a book that empowers its readers." -- from the Foreword, by Gloria Steinem This collection of the never-before-seen correspondence of Harry S. Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt sheds important light on the relationship between two giants of twentieth-century American history.While researching his previous book, Harry and Ike, Steve Neal came upon a trove of letters between President Harry S. Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt that had never been published. At the time they were written, the former first lady was Truman's appointee to the UN delegation -- the highest-ranking woman in his administration. These letters, collected in Eleanor and Harry, reveal the extraordinary story of a deep, often stormy, and enduring friendship throughout one of the most important eras in American history.Eleanor and Harry grew up in different worlds. Their alliance was often strained, as they represented diverse, and sometimes opposing, political traditions. Truman, who had spent much of his youth on a Missouri farm, reflected the values and work ethic of rural America. Eleanor, born into New York society, was a constant advocate of reform. Despite their differences, they maintained a warm and sympathetic correspondence after Truman took office, and he designated Mrs. Roosevelt the "First Lady of the World."In more than 250 letters, readers will discover Eleanor and Harry's discussion of the beginning of the Cold War, the rebuilding of postwar Europe, the creation of the state of Israel, and the start of the modern civil rights movement. Mrs. Roosevelt pressed Truman to give women more influence in his administration and declined to endorse his renomination in 1948, but she supported his difficult decision to drop the atomic bomb, his military intervention in Korea, and his controversial firing of General Douglas MacArthur. Though they disagreed on several occasions and Mrs. Roosevelt often offered to resign from the UN delegation, Truman valued her advice too much to allow her to quit. They remained close friends until her death in 1962.Eleanor and Harry is an uncommonly personal look at some of the momentous events of the twentieth century and offers a rare, intimate insight into the challenging and enriching friendship between two great Americans.

Author Notes

Steve Neal, political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a former White House correspondent

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Before he assumed the presidency in April 1945, Truman had largely been frozen out of major policy decisions of the Roosevelt administration. He knew virtually nothing about the Manhattan Project, and his personal relations with both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were cordial but fleeting. Neal is the political columnist for the Chicago Sun Times and a former White House correspondent. In his compilation of correspondence between Truman and Mrs. Roosevelt over a 15-year period, Neal illustrates how their relationship deepened into one of mutual respect and even affection. Truman, initially uncomfortable with a politically outspoken woman, came to appreciate Mrs. Roosevelt's political passion and acumen. Mrs. Roosevelt slowly came to understand Truman's commitment to his own bedrock principles. But this is not all sweetness and light. One frequently senses Truman's irritation with Roosevelt's "meddling," while Roosevelt wishes Truman were more of a standard-bearer for her internationalist agenda. This is a useful and revealing look at the evolution of the relationship between two postwar icons. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman enjoyed a relationship unique in American history. Virtually strangers before the death of FDR, afterward the two became close friends and began exchanging letters on everything from their health and the weather to Democratic politics and global communism. Now, in this collection of over 250 of their letters ably edited and introduced by Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Neal (Harry and Ike), the full extent of their friendship finally becomes apparent. Truman, Neal makes clear, admired Mrs. Roosevelt greatly, calling her the "First Lady of the World." She, in turn, thought he was a "good man" and wanted to help him however she could. But the two also disagreed on many issues, and Mrs. Roosevelt was never shy about expressing her opinion. In her letters, she rebuked Truman for the "loyalty boards" designed to root out communists (he later agreed with her) and shamed him into investigating discrimination against Japanese-Americans. For his part, Truman staunchly defended his support of noncommunist regimes in Greece and Turkey (the beginnings of the "Truman Doctrine") and delicately asserted that she was too naive about Stalinist Russia. Yet Truman also trusted Mrs. Roosevelt immensely, and told her things he could tell few others ("The difficulties with Churchill are very nearly as exasperating as they are with the Russians," he wrote after the frustrating negotiations to end the war). On her end, Mrs. Roosevelt never hesitated to offer kindness and support. "My congratulations on your courage... you have done the right thing," she wrote to Truman after he fired General MacArthur. These are letters without parallel. As Neal points out, just try to imagine Jacqueline Kennedy and LBJ writing these letters, or George H.W. Bush and Nancy Reagan. This collection is a valuable contribution to early Cold War scholarship, as well as a fascinating window into two titanic figures in American history. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

They were an odd match, the former First Lady who would have preferred to leave the White House after two terms and the accidental president who had not initially sought the presidency. In more than 250 letters between Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman from 1945 through 1960, readers encounter the active and flexible personalities behind both correspondents, who often differed but eventually grew to admire each other. Neal, a political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, former White House correspondent, and author of five books, including Harry and Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Postwar World, uncovered these unpublished letters while working on that volume. He inserts useful introductory remarks throughout the text, which is arranged chronologically, and also provides brief epilogs. Truman appointed the former First Lady as a delegate to the United Nations to shore up his support among liberal Democrats. Though she often came close to resigning, he took pride in making her "the First Lady of the World," a title Eisenhower tried to deny her but could not, just as he could not deny that Truman would become a folk hero to many including Republicans. Both remain heroes today for reasons reflected in these letters, and political buffs will enjoy reading this personal correspondence. Recommended for public and academic libraries. William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 7
Forewordp. 11
Introductionp. 15
1 1945p. 21
2 1946p. 53
3 1947p. 87
4 1948p. 119
5 1949p. 157
6 1950p. 173
7 1951p. 187
8 1952p. 207
9 1953-1960p. 223
A Brief Epiloguep. 269
Bibliographical Essayp. 273
Appendixp. 277
Indexp. 283