I Was Roosevelt’s Shadow

Title:                      I Was Roosevelt’s Shadow

Author:                  Micheal F. Reilly

Reilly, Michael F. (1946) as told to William J. Slogum. I Was Roosevelt’s Shadow. London: W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd

LOC:       47018740

E807 .R4

Date Posted:      April 15, 2013

This book now is quite old, but remain fascinating as it relates the observations of Mike Reill who, in the Secret Service, was always near FDR while president.

Mr. Roosevelt

Title:                      Mr. Roosevelt

Author:                  Compton Mackenzie

Mackenzie, Compton (1944). Mr. Roosevelt. New York: E.P. Dutton

LOC:       44003899

E807 .M212 1944

Date Posted:      April 14, 2013

Sir (Edward Montague) Compton Mackenzie, OBE (1883–1972) was a prolific writer of fiction, biography, histories, and memoir, as well as a cultural commentator, raconteur, and lifelong Scottish nationalist. He was one of the co-founders in 1928 of the Scottish National Party.

Compton Mackenzie was born in West Hartlepool, England, into a theatrical family of Mackenzies, but many of whose members used Compton as their stage surname, starting with his grandfather Henry Compton, a well-known Shakespearean actor of the Victorian era. His father, Edward Compton, was an actor and theatre company manager; his sister, Fay Compton, starred in many of J. M. Barrie’s plays, including Peter Pan.

Sir Compton Mackenzie is perhaps best known for two comedies set in Scotland, the Hebridean Whisky Galore (1947) and The Monarch of the Glen (1941), sources of a successful film and a television series respectively. He published almost a hundred books on different subjects, including ten volumes of autobiography, My Life and Times (1963–1971). He also wrote history, biography (Mr Roosevelt, 1943, a biography of FDR), literary criticism, satires, apologia (Sublime Tobacco 1957), children’s stories, poetry, and so on.

He was an influence on the young F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose first book, This Side of Paradise, was written while under his spell. Sinister Street, his lengthy 1913–14 bildungsroman, influenced the young and impressed established writers. Against the rules, George Orwell and Cyril Connolly read it as schoolboys. Max Beerbohm praised Mackenzie’s writing for vividness and emotional reality. Frank Swinnerton, literary critic, comments on Mackenzie’s “detail and wealth of reference”.

Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1914, he explored religious themes in a trilogy of novels, The Altar Steps (1922), The Parson’s Progress (1923), and The Heavenly Ladder (1924). Following his time on Capri, socializing with the gay exiles there, he treated the homosexuality of a politician sensitively in Thin Ice (1956).

He was the literary critic for the London-based national newspaper Daily Mail.

Roosevelt in Retrospect

Title:                      Roosevelt in Retrospect

Author:                  John Gunther

Gunther, John (1950). Roosevelt in Retrospect, A Profile in History. New York, Harper

LOC:       50008078

E807 .G85

Date Posted:      April 13, 2013

The following is a KIRKUS REVIEW

John Gunther , the master of collecting, assessing and redistributing information turned his reportorial gifts to the personality and career of a figure who is already part of history. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Here is a dispassionate study, an intimate closeup of the man, of his relations with others, of his family, of his career, politically and professionally. It is an honest study, with due recognition of the rare genius of Roosevelt along with his weaknesses, his littlenesses, his beliefs, his likes and dislikes, his attitudes.

Gunther has a colloquial style, chatty, anecdotal, very personal. Possibly Frances Perkins’ The Roosevelt I Knew, though less comprehensive in coverage, comes to this sense of intimate knowledge, though the Gunther differs in that one is aware that he has arrived at his facts through years of study of the man, his achievements, his words, and through interviews with the people closest to him. Occasionally, there is almost a “gossip column” aspect to the material, but in the main one reads with a conviction that here is the man himself, with all his complexities, his charm, his warmth, his human frailties, and the smallnesses of his greatnesses. A mirror—rather than a critical portrait. Intensely good reading despite the familiarity of much of the material.

Books about Roosevelt are legion; this is not just another book, but one that makes the reader feel that the man lives in its pages.

Roosevelt’s Road to Russia

Names:              Roosevelt’s Road to Russia

Author:              George N. Crocker

Crocker, George N. (1959). Roosevelt’sRoad to Russia. Chicago, IL: Regnery Books

LOC:       59013049

E744 .C845

Date Posted:      April 16, 2013

This book can best be likened to a lynch mob howling and screaming unintelligibly, each laying hands on the prisoner at the center and pulling this way and that, and trying rather fruitlessly to string him up. To an observer, it might be fairly plain that the subject of the mob’s fury deserves something, but such is the utter bedlam and torrent of emotion, it ends up being as clear as mud what exactly the problem is.

In a clear case of some extremely brave revisionism, Crocker sets out to pillory his nation’s longest serving and beloved former president. He is merciless, and reserves some choice epithets to use against Roosevelt. Not once does he excuse him or even bring himself to admit that Roosevelt might have done a single thing right. Quite simply, he is rabid.

The book’s publication date of 1959 might serve to explain partly this unbridled vitriol. So too might the barrage of venom reserved for the only man Crocker hates more than Roosevelt, the “hard shell…Tartar whose flinty eyes hinted the Mongolian admixture in his blood, this tyrant…” – none other than “Joe Stalin” (as Crocker chooses to spitefully call him). It is difficult to gain the unequivocal impression that an author is literally spitting a name from pursed lips whenever he mentions it. Crocker gives that impression amply.

Why is this a good book? It is certainly a piece of Cold War propaganda, whose sole aim is to blacken the name of Roosevelt as the sole antagonist (working, of course, with communist spies!) whose folly, mealymouthedness and – dare we say? – outright treason singlehandedly spawned the genesis of global communism. Despite these manifold failings as an unbiased piece of historical research, Crocker does manage to blind himself to the atrocities and ugliness of the Nazi state, such is his venom reserved for his red enemies. He allows himself to take a step back from anti-Nazi rhetoric and ask some legitimate questions about the United States’ entry into the war; the reasons for it, the manipulation of Japan and of the American people, and the decisions that were put down in black and white on treaty papers between the Big Three.

As a compendium of Roosevelt’s actions as a Machiavellian communist traitor, this book is worthless. But as a compendium of Roosevelt’s errors, perjuries, betrayals and bewildering altruism unsullied by the mistake of believing that Hitler was the only evil man in the world in 1941, this book is priceless. It is also incredibly entertaining.

Counterintelligence Reading

This is one of many books on the Department of Energy Hanford counterintelligence reading list. The entire list is as follows (with links when appropriate.) The entire list is found at Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counterintelligence


Crocker, George N. (1959). Roosevelt’sRoad to Russia

Gunther, John (1950). Roosevelt in Retrospect, A Profile in History

Mackenzie, Compton (1944). Mr. Roosevelt

Reilly, Michael F. (1946) as told to William J. Slogum. I Was Roosevelt’s Shadow

Stinnett, Robert B. (2000). Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor