The Confidante The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern Americaby Gorham, Christopher C.
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“Far and away the most important woman in the American government, and perhaps the most important official female in the world.” —LIFE magazine, 1952
“One of the most influential women in the country's public affairs for a quarter of a century.” —The New York Times
As FDR’s special envoy to Europe in WWII she went where FDR couldn’t go. She was among the first Allied women to enter a liberated concentration camp, and stood in the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s mountain retreat days after it’s capture. She guided the direction of the G.I. Bill of Rights and the Manhattan Project. Though Anna Rosenberg emerged from modest immigrant beginnings, equipped with only a high school education, she was the real power behind national policies critical to America winning the war and prospering afterwards. Astonishingly, her story remains largely forgotten.
With a disarming mix of charm and Tammany-hewn toughness, Rosenberg began her career in public relations in 1920s Manhattan. She became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt, who recommended Anna to her husband, then running for governor of New York. As FDR’s unofficial adviser, Rosenberg soon wielded enormous influence—no less potent for being subtle. Roosevelt dubbed her “my Mrs. Fix-It.”
Her extraordinary career continued after his death.
By 1950, she was tapped to become the Assistant Secretary of Defense—the second highest office any woman ever held in the US—prompting Senator Joe McCarthy to wage an unsuccessful smear campaign against her. In 1962, she organized JFK’s infamous birthday gala, sitting beside him while Marilyn Monroe sang. Until the end of her life, Rosenberg fought tirelessly for causes from racial integration to women’s equality to national healthcare.
More than the story of one remarkable woman, The Confidante explores who gets to be at the forefront of history, and why. Though not quite a hidden figure, Rosenberg’s position as “the power behind,” combined with her status as an immigrant and a Jewish woman, served to diminish her importance. In this inspiring, impeccably researched, and revelatory book, Christopher C. Gorham at last affords Anna Rosenberg the recognition she so richly deserves.
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