F. D. R.: My Boss
F. D. R.: My Boss
In reading some of the books my friends have written about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I have been struck by the fact that in the second or third chapter the hero of the story often turns out to be the author, while Roosevelt vanishes from sight or is reduced to a small walk-on part. I have been struck by the further fact that if my friends did all they claim to have done, the sum of the things for which they take sole credit would exceed the sum of the whole New Deal. And nothing would be left for which Roosevelt could be credited--except, perhaps, credit for everything that went wrong.
In defense of my friends, it is not hard to understand why they placed themselves at the center of their stories and assigned only a secondary role to Roosevelt. Seeing the President only occasionally, and making diary entries at the time of what they said or did, and reading those entries over later, they had reason to believe that it was they and not Roosevelt who set in motion the chain of events they claim as their own child. None of them could know that for each minute they spent with the President he spent a hundred minutes by himself and a thousand more with scores of other people--to reject, improvise, weigh, and match this against that until a decision was reached on a public policy.
While I would explain and forgive the misplaced emphasis in the books I have read in the foregoing terms, nevertheless, the two impressions I have mentioned remained with me in the course of preparing my own book. And in a restraining sense they have shaped the character of the pages that follow. I have tried to limit my own part in this book to the role of storyteller alone. Had I headed a great . . .