In a letter to David Gurewitsch, Eleanor Roosevelt's personal physician and friend during the last fifteen years of her life, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote, "Above all others, you are the one to whom my heart is tied...." This defines the intense relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and David Gurewitsch-- friends who often traveled and entertained together and eventually, after his marriage to Edna Perkel, bought and shared a town house in Manhattan.
Their private friendship, a companionship they both treasured, has always intrigued historians, but not much was known about it. David kept diaries and took thousands of photographs, but he never publicly discussed their time together. Now, for the first time, his wife, Edna, has decided to reveal their story and hers after she married into their complicated relationship. Reading David's diaries and the hundreds of letters that he and Mrs. Roosevelt exchanged over the years, and then reflecting on her own life after the death of her husband, enabled Edna finally to write this story. She sheds new light on Mrs. Roosevelt's very private journey of self-discovery as she gained the confidence and knowledge to follow her own personal and political convictions: visiting Khrushchev at his home in Yalta, working on Adlai Stevenson's campaign, being charmed by the young Senator John Kennedy into giving her support for his presidential candidacy, and above all inspiring the love and respect of people all over the world for her compassion, eloquence, and devotion to humanity.
Given her husband's unique role as doctor and confidant to Mrs. Roosevelt, Edna Gurewitsch draws on his insights and her own as a close friend to offer us a very human and inspiring portrait of this complex woman. Perceived as a strong and deeply caring person, which she was, Mrs. Roosevelt also struggled terribly with loneliness and jealousy and a need to transcend her sometimes overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. Her capacity for friendship was enormous, and Edna Gurewitsch describes what it was like to be on the receiving end of her exceptional thoughtfulness-- the carefully chosen gifts left on doorsteps, the generous notes, and the open conversations she welcomed with a humility that never trumpeted her own virtues or called attention to herself as one of the great minds of the twentieth century.
Kindred Souls is filled with personal and unpublished letters from Mrs. Roosevelt. Sometimes chatty and fact-filled, but more often heartfelt and passionate, these letters reveal her yearnings and vulnerabilities as well as her comings and goings, her personal as well as her global concerns. And yet they are always balanced by her special dignity and probity. The book also includes thirty-two pages of never-before-seen photographs taken by David Gurewitsch. Combined with the author's own memories and observations, Kindred Souls is a unique, intimate look at three friends and their extraordinary lives.