A President in Our Midst
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A President in Our Midst

Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia

Title Details

Pages: 272

Illustrations: 200 b&w photos

Trim size: 10.000in x 8.000in



Pub Date: 06/01/2017

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5299-2

List Price: $30.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published in association with Georgia Humanities

Published with the generous support of Norman and Emmy Lou Illges Foundation

A President in Our Midst

Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia

The Georgia–FDR connection and what it meant for the entire country

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  • Description
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited Georgia forty-one times between 1924 and 1945. This rich gathering of photographs and remembrances documents the vital role of Georgia’s people and places in FDR’s rise from his position as a despairing politician daunted by disease to his role as a revered leader who guided the country through its worst depression and a world war.

A native New Yorker, FDR called Georgia his “other state.” Seeking relief from the devastating effects of polio, he was first drawn there by the reputed healing powers of the waters at Warm Springs. FDR immediately took to Georgia, and the attraction was mutual. Nearly two hundred photos show him working and convalescing at the Little White House, addressing crowds, sparring with reporters, visiting fellow polio patients, and touring the countryside. Quotes by Georgians from a variety of backgrounds hint at the countless lives he touched during his time in the state.

In Georgia, away from the limelight, FDR became skilled at projecting strength while masking polio’s symptoms. Georgia was also his social laboratory, where he floated new ideas to the press and populace and tested economic recovery projects that were later rolled out nationally. Most important, FDR learned to love and respect common Americans—beginning with the farmers, teachers, maids, railroad workers, and others he met in Georgia.

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, cared for by a doting mother who was a scion of New York social aristocracy, a son of Harvard and the very model of the North's elite, why would this man fall in love with the people of Georgia, and especially the poor farmer? It is a great mystery, but one that transformed Roosevelt himself. In Georgia life came back to a polio-stricken FDR, and there he breathed his last breath.

—Jamil S. Zainaldin, President, Georgia Humanities Council

Historians have paid too little attention to Franklin Roosevelt’s loving but complicated relationship with the state of Georgia. With A President in Our Midst, Kaye Lanning Minchew has compiled a fascinating collection of stories, eyewitness recollections, and photographs to fill that gap. It’s a wonderful addition to the library of Rooseveltiana.

—James Tobin, author of The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency

Kaye Lanning Minchew has done just what I would have expected—a masterful job—in creating a unique, in-depth look at Franklin Delano Roosevelt's relationship to Georgia. . . . Minchew writes with simplicity and clarity, but her book provides all the details a reader would want about Roosevelt’s visits to the Peach State, starting long before his bout with polio brought him to Warm Springs. . . . UGA Press deserves a pat on the back for this book, as well. A President in Our Midst is a large format, 'coffee table' size volume which shows off the black-and-white photographs of the time—some of them crisp and clear, others less so—to maximum effect.

—Winston Skinner, Newnan Times-Herald

For Georgians of a certain age, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s connection with the state was a constant, but as time has passed, many may have forgotten the time he spent in Georgia. In A President in Our Midst, Kaye Lanning Minchew brings FDR and his twenty-one years of visits to Georgia back to the forefront.

—Joy Bolt, Georgia Library Quarterly


Georgia Author of the Year Awards, Georgia Writers Association


Award for Excellence in Research, Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council

About the Author/Editor

KAYE LANNING MINCHEW was the executive director of the Troup County Historical Society and Archives for more than thirty years. Now retired, she serves as an archival consultant and lives in LaGrange, Georgia.