My Roosevelt Years

Norman M. Littell, Author University of Washington Press $0 (422p) ISBN 978-0-295-96525-3
Littell served from 1939 to 1944 as an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department. An opponent of monopolies, special favors for the powerful and big-business domination of the war effort, he was often embroiled in controversy. Lobbyist Thomas Corcoran, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes and Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter figure prominently as betes noires in the pages of Littell's diary (part of which is in the form of letters to his daughter). The author vents a lot of spleen, much of it directed against his boss, Attorney General Francis Biddle, whom he considers an incompetent weakling (Biddle fired him for disloyalty). The memoir contains interesting bits of gossip about the White House staff, for example, about the conflict between ""the Mrs. Roosevelt clique'' and ``the Harry Hopkins clique.'' The author was a supporter of Vice-President Henry Wallace, and his account of Wallace's displacement by Truman during the 1944 Democratic convention sheds new light on that moment in American politics. Retired from his Washington, D.C., law practice, Littell now lives in Maryland; Dembo is on the staff of the Cincinnati Historical Society. Illustrations. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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