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Download The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency Audiobook, by Kathryn Smith Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathryn Smith Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2016 ISBN: 9781504767293
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The first biography of arguably the most influential member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand, FDR’s de facto chief of staff, who has been misrepresented, mischaracterized, and overlooked throughout history … until now.

Widely considered the first female presidential chief of staff, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand was the right-hand woman to Franklin Delano Roosevelt—both personally and professionally—for more than twenty years. Although her official title as personal secretary was relatively humble, her power and influence were unparalleled. Everyone in the White House knew one truth: if you wanted access to Franklin, you had to get through Missy. She was one of his most trusted advisors, affording her a unique perspective on the president that no one else could claim, and she was deeply admired and respected by Eleanor and the Roosevelt children.

With unprecedented access to Missy’s family and original source materials, journalist Kathryn Smith tells the captivating and forgotten story of the intelligent, loyal, and clever woman who had a front-row seat to history in the making. The Gatekeeper is a thoughtful, revealing unsung-hero story about a woman ahead of her time, the true weight of her responsibility, and the tumultuous era in which she lived; a long overdue tribute to one of the most important female figures in American history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Franklin Roosevelt’s longtime loyal personal secretary earns a much-needed, balanced portrait…A marvelous portrait of a professional woman ahead of her time whose relationship with FDR sheds new light on his personality and decisions.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Journalist Smith grants readers an unusual insider’s view of FDR’s political career by profiling his longtime private secretary. Marguerite ‘Missy’ LeHand…A fascinating account of one woman’s involvement in an important administration.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Engaging.”

    Library Journal

  • “A well-written, informative, and valuable biography, and an important addition to the many-faceted and perpetually fascinating Roosevelt story.”


  • “Behind every great president is a small group of advisors selflessly devoting themselves to the task of making their president as successful as possible. Missy LeHand was one the people who enabled Franklin D. Roosevelt to become the FDR of history. Kathryn Smith makes a brisk and compelling case that Missy LeHand was one of the most important women of the twentieth century.”

    Bob Clark, director of archives, Rockefeller Archives Center

  • “Missy LeHand was one of the most powerful women of twentieth-century Washington, yet since World War II her name has faded from public awareness. Kathryn Smith has restored LeHand to her proper place with a rich and poignant biography, deeply researched and thoroughly absorbing.”

    James Tobin, author of The Man He Became

  • “Kathryn Smith’s The Gatekeeper is a vivid, much-needed life of one of the least known but most consequential figures in FDR’s immediate circle, Missy LeHand. Anyone interested in Roosevelt, the New Deal, or the path toward global war will want to snap it up.”

    Geoffrey C. Ward, author of A First-Class Temperament

  • “Despite the many shelves of books written on the personal and political life of Franklin D. Roosevelt, we have no biography of Marguerite ‘Missy’ LeHand, FDR’s close friend and aide. She was with him—and vital to his progress—from the earliest days of his affliction with polio in 1921 to the world crisis of 1941. Now Kathryn Smith is assembling the written materials and the personal remembrances of Missy’s family to tell a most important story about America’s most successful twentieth century president.”

    Frank Costigliola, author of Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances

  • “For the two decades between 1921 and 1941 no one spent more time with Franklin Delano Roosevelt than Marguerite ‘Missy’ LeHand. From modest Irish Catholic Boston roots, Missy rose to become an indispensable intimate confidante, adviser, chief of staff and exclusive conduit to the most consequential personality of the twentieth century. No woman has ever wielded more influence in a presidential administration. Likewise, Missy was admired and respected by Eleanor, the Roosevelt children, and every other key member of the Roosevelt administration. Because of a severely disabling stroke at just forty-five years of age, Missy’s contribution to history has been marginalized and nearly forgotten. This definitive biography, published with the authority of her family and containing much information never before revealed, is long overdue, and will finally afford Missy the credit she deserves as one of the most important female figures in American history.”

    Dr. Steven Lomazow, author of FDR’s Deadly Secret

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for September 2016
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About the Author
Author Kathryn Smith

Kathryn Smith is a journalist and writer with a lifelong interest in FDR. She has lived all her life in Georgia and South Carolina, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Georgia. She worked as a daily newspaper reporter and editor, and has been the book columnist for the Anderson Independent Mail for twenty years. Her specialization in health care reporting led to the establishment and management of a charity for cancer patients in her hometown. She has been involved through Rotary International in the worldwide effort to eradicate polio, called PolioPlus. Smith is the author of an oral history of World War II told by living veterans and civilians called A Necessary War.

About the Narrator

Bernadette Dunne is the winner of seventeen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway. She lives in Brooklyn.