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FDR's deadly secret
Steven Lomazow and Eric Fettmann
Adult Nonfiction E807 .L68 2009

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From 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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