Schlesinger's Memoirs Offer Insider View

Late historian's journals brim with candid gossip on politics, culture
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Oct 7, 2007 7:30 PM CDT
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. stands in his home office, in this Aug. 19, 2004 file photo, in New York. Schlesinger, who died in February 2007 at age 89, kept many of his private writings in dusty manila...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – From the Roosevelts to the Kennedys, from Groucho to Marilyn, Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s  journals provide a rich treasure of insights into 20th-century American life, says reviewer Jon Meacham in the Washington Post. In one gem, Schlesinger quotes JFK: "I'm perfectly willing to kiss Mrs. Roosevelt's arse; in fact I rather enjoyed it. But I can't spend all my time doing it."

Schlesinger, who died this year, "loved martinis, politics, steaks and the New Deal," and he wrote about them with gusto, Meacham says. His Journals, 1952-2000 provide an invaluable chronicle of America's cultural and political elites. He even quotes Kissinger as calling Donald Rumsfeld "the rottenest person" he had known in government.