The Frances Perkins Center is pleased to announce the re-issuance as a Penguin Classic of The Roosevelt I Knew, Frances Perkins’ memoir of her years working with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Originally published in November of 1946, it was the first definitive biography of Roosevelt, covering their years together from their first meeting in 1910 until his death in April of 1945. The book quickly made its way to the top of the bestseller list, where it remained for ten weeks. Even though out of print for several years, The Roosevelt I Knew has continued to make an enduring contribution to Roosevelt scholarship.
According to Christopher Breiseth, President Emeritus of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Frances Perkins Center Board member, “Perhaps no political colleague was closer to FDR and understood him better over a longer period of time than Frances Perkins. The portrait she drew within a year of his death in The Roosevelt I Knew was intimate, insightful, appreciative, candid and critical – all qualities that characterized their relationship. At the same time, the self-portrait of Madame Secretary was telling. The recent renewed interest in Frances Perkins’s extraordinary contributions to the domestic agenda of the New Deal will be deepened by Penguin Press’s reissuing of The Roosevelt I Knew, a wonderful by-product of this happy event.”
Adam Cohen, former New York Times editorial writer and author of Nothing to Fear: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America, has written the introduction to this new edition. Cohen opens the book with an assessment of its author: “If American history textbooks accurately reflected the past, Frances Perkins would be recognized as one of the nation’s greatest heroes – as iconic as Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Paine. Like Franklin, Perkins was a brilliant self-creation…. Like Paine, Perkins helped to start a revolution…. The New Deal was Perkins’ revolution, and it did nothing less than create modern America.” Cohen will be the keynote speaker at the Frances Perkins Center’s annual Garden Party on Thursday, August 4th at The Brick House, Perkins’ home in Newcastle.
The book will be available on Tuesday, June 28th at the Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta and other local, as well as online, book sellers.