The Roosevelts and
Their Descendants:

Portrait of an American Family

There has never been a royal family in America, but there have been representatives of families elected to the seats of government repeatedly -- so many times, in fact, that the mere mention of their last names seems synonymous with different eras in the American saga. Like the Adams, Tafts, Kennedys, and Bushes both before and since, one of those would have to be the Roosevelts. Few (if any) have had more influence on America than the Roosevelts.

Truly some of the most written about people in American history, more books have probably been authored on Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt than on any other segment of the American past except our greatest wars, Revolutionary, Civil, World War II. To recall their combined legacies as "The Age of Roosevelt" would not be an overstatement. Undoubtedly, these two presidents, only 25 years apart, and a first lady later referred to as "First Lady of the World" by another, sitting president had more to do with modern America and the way it became viewed worldwide than any other three people in history. Add to that the fact they came from our two opposing political parties and you have the makings of an even more enduring story -- the fact that at heart they were more Progressive than either Democrat or Republican.

Theirs, however, were not the only Roosevelt stories worthy of attention. Although most Roosevelt historians have concentrated on their "Big Three" for obvious reasons, there were other members of their contemporary families that more should have been known about along with extended and external families, and a host of accomplished, interesting descendants whose stories had never been shared or at least not shared in the context of "being a Roosevelt." In addition, their many intriguing in-laws (and I do mean many) only add to diverse makeup of this famous American family, providing enough story lines to fill a book.

And so it was that having been a part of the planning committee for the most recent Roosevelt family reunion in Warm Springs, Georgia this writer had access to many of the people and stories that encompass Roosevelt lore, an opportunity too good to miss, especially when it came to all those "other Roosevelts." As a result, this book owes its roots to a three-day family reunion in early November of 2013. What followed were many months of research, travel, follow-up calls, and examination of all things Roosevelt either written or said by or about them, a veritable smorgasbord of Roosevelt connections, insight, and minutia that makes their ongoing saga and contributions so compelling. Not all took part, but to all the "descendants" that did, many thanks.

It's a family that has had its share of issues and more than its share of scrutiny, a family united by an illustrious past. Like any other family in many respects, it's also like no other at the same time. After all, there can never be a more famous Roosevelt, a factor many in the family have seemed to wrestle with while others have more easily overcome. That's born out repeatedly in the pages of this book, the latest addition to the ever-expanding Roosevelt library.


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