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The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency

by Kathryn Smith
352 pages
Touchstone
Release Date: September 6, 2016

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As many of you know, I recently spent more than 7 months reading 19 of the best biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt. During those 12,000 pages I was introduced to a number of interesting characters who advised FDR, providing advice while remaining largely offstage. One of those people was Missy LeHand.

It is ironic that Kathryn Smith’s biography of Missy is being published so soon after my journey through FDR’s life. She, along with Louis Howe and Harry Hopkins, were nearly indispensable to his success in many ways.  I look forward to reading this..when I’ve finished my journey through the presidents themselves!

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From the publisher:

The first biography of arguably the most influential member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand, FDR’s de facto chief of staff, who has been misrepresented, mischaracterized, and overlooked throughout history…until now.

Widely considered the first female presidential chief of staff, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand was the right-hand woman to Franklin Delano Roosevelt—both personally and professionally—for more than twenty years. Although her official title as personal secretary was relatively humble, her power and influence were unparalleled. Everyone in the White House knew one truth: If you wanted access to Franklin, you had to get through Missy. She was one of his most trusted advisors, affording her a unique perspective on the president that no one else could claim, and she was deeply admired and respected by Eleanor and the Roosevelt children.

With unprecedented access to Missy’s family and original source materials, journalist Kathryn Smith tells the captivating and forgotten story of the intelligent, loyal, and clever woman who had a front-row seat to history in the making. The Gatekeeper is a thoughtful, revealing unsung-hero story about a woman ahead of her time, the true weight of her responsibility, and the tumultuous era in which she lived—and a long overdue tribute to one of the most important female figures in American history.”

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