When Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1945, his lifelong physician swore that the president had always been in perfect health. Twenty-five years later, his cardiologist admitted that the president suffered from hypertension, and that contrary to what the public was led to believe, his death was “a cataclysmic event waiting to happen.” But even this was a carefully constructed deceit, designed to protect the reputation of a man that led a country through war, and maintained until now.

This persuasive re-examination of Roosevelt’s last years reveals a more profoundly disabled president than the nation knew, and asks whether Roosevelt should be criticized or celebrated for shouldering the weight of a wartime presidency in his compromised state.

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