FDR's Deadly Secret

Steven Lomazow, Author, Eric Fettmann, Author
Steven Lomazow, Author, Eric Fettmann, Author . Public Affairs $25.95 (276p) ISBN 978-1-58648-744-7
Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-1-58648-906-9
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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.)

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