Tomorrow will be the first installment of my “Book Club”, starting with “The Man He Became”, by James Tobin, a new biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt focusing on his experience of polio and how it related to his rise to the Presidency. I’ll be giving my first impressions of Part One: Virus and Host. After I have my say, please feel fee to comment, especially if you have read or are reading the book as well. But don’t feel you have to be reading to contribute.
I’ve almost finished the whole book, even though I initially figured I’d tackle one part at a time. It’s that good. I’ll save most of my thoughts for tomorrow, but just say now that I found myself very personally and emotionally connected to Roosevelt as Tobin described the progress of his polio, and his reactions to it. Disability really is a ruthless equalizer. Roosevelt was about as privileged a person as could be found in this country in the 1920s. He was still privileged after contracting polio, but the practical affects were just as gritty and inescapable as they were for anyone, regardless of income or social status. Roosevelt’s wealth gave him tools and supports, but they did virtually nothing to the disease itself, nor even much to his mindset, I think.