Decades after FDR’s death, generations of Americans want to know the source of this president’s intimate contact with those he called “My friends….” How was he able to cement a relationship with so many million of people in all corners of the world, of a wide array of races, religions, and creeds? there was much more to it than a stirring radio voice, his friend and advisor Judge Samuel I. Rosenman observed, “I think that the great reason for Roosevelt’s place in the hearts and heads of people was his ability to make them feel that he associated himself personally with each of them in each one’s aspirations for something better in life. He did not seem to be someone far removed, fighting their battles in a rarefied atmosphere, He was,” in Rosenman’s opinion, “right down in the sweaty arena with them, side by side, expressing what they were thinking, doing what they wanted done, taking his strength and his boldness from their strength and their support.”
Roosevelt’s magic touch with the American memory is because of his personality. He thought in terms of human beings rather than abstract, unattainable objectives. One newspaper that had largely opposed the president during his four terms wrote at the time of his death, “Men will thank God on their knees, a hundred years from now, of Roosevelt’s leadership.” Add to that the comment of a close friend, at FDR’s passing, “Now we are on our own.”
Roosevelt maintained an unbreakable bond with multitudes of human beings who know him only as a voice on the radio, perhaps a picture in the newspapers or a magazine, or a as flash on a newsreel screen. But how did he become such a living, comforting presence in countless homes across America? After all, the United States had had popular presidents in the past, yet none had achieve as strong a personal understanding with his followers as Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“Through the whole of Franklin’s career there never was any deviation from his original objective- to help make life better for the average man, woman and child. A thousand and one means were used, difficulties arose, changes took place, but this objective always was the motive for whatever has to be done,” wrote Eleanor Roosevelt of her husband’s presidency. This included the manner in which FDR’s speeches were crafted and delivered to the public. While many men prepared his speeches, the speeches were his own from the delivery perspective. During press conferences and fireside chats, his own speaking style, his use of stories and jokes, he used because he wanted people to know him. In Rendezvous with Destiny:” the FDR Legacy, author Amy Waters Yarsinske takes readers inside the Roosevelt White House, to the Cabinet Room where the president’s most important speeches and fireside chats were constructed, and into the heart of debates that ensued over choice of words and phrases in his most memorable addresses.
This book has sold thousands of copies on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and while it remains available as you tour the nation’s capital, you can also pick up the book through a number of sellers on Amazon.com and E-Bay.com