Christopher Gorham at Harvard Book Store
The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped
Win WWII and Shape Modern America
in conversation with LISA MULLINS
February 21, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes lawyer and historian CHRISTOPHER GORHAM for a discussion of his new book The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America. He will be joined in conversation by LISA MULLINS—host of All Things Considered on WBUR.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.
About The Confidante
As FDR’s special envoy to Europe in World War II, she went where FDR couldn’t go. She was among the first Allied women to enter a liberated concentration camp and stood in the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s mountain retreat days after itscapture. She guided the direction of the G.I. Bill of Rights and safeguarded the Manhattan Project. Though Anna Rosenberg emerged from modest immigrant beginnings, equipped with only high school education, she was the real power behind national policies critical to America winning the war and prospering afterward. Astonishingly, her story remains largely forgotten.
With a disarming mix of charm and Tammany-hewn toughness, Rosenberg began her career in public relations in 1920s Manhattan. She became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt, who recommended Anna to her husband, who was running for Governor of New York. As FDR’s unofficial adviser, Rosenberg soon wielded enormous influence—no less potent for being subtle. Roosevelt dubbed her “my Mrs. Fix-It.” Her extraordinary career continued after his death.
By 1950, she was tapped to become the assistant secretary of defense—the highest position ever held by a woman in the US military—prompting Senator Joe McCarthy to wage an unsuccessful smear campaign against her. In 1962, she organized JFK’s controversial birthday gala, sitting beside him while Marilyn Monroe sang. Until the end of her life, Rosenberg fought tirelessly for causes from racial integration to women’s equality to national healthcare.
More than the story of one remarkable woman, The Confidante explores who gets to be at the forefront of history, and why. Though she was not quite a hidden figure, Rosenberg’s position as “the power behind,” combined with her status as an immigrant and a Jewish woman, served to diminish her importance. In this inspiring, impeccably researched, and revelatory book, Christopher C. Gorham, at last, affords Anna Rosenberg the recognition she so richly deserves.
Praise for The Confidante
“Christopher Gorham’s authoritative new biography will put Anna Rosenberg where she belongs: among the most outstanding yet unsung women of the 20th century.” —Nigel Hamilton, author of the FDR at War trilogy and JFK: Reckless Youth
“Anna Rosenberg was a dynamo of a woman. Christopher C. Gorham's engaging and deeply researched biography The Confidante will leave you with two thoughts: ‘Why did I never hear of this woman before?’ and ‘Thank goodness she's been rescued from obscurity!’" —Kathryn Smith, author of The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR and the Untold Story of the Partnership that Defined a Presidency
“An outstanding narrative-driven debut that exemplifies why we read history in the first place. Anna Rosenberg's gripping saga should be read by anyone who enjoys a story of achieving success by overcoming long odds.” —Stephen Puleo, author of Dark Tide, The Caning, American Treasures, and Voyage of Mercy
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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