Roosevelt and Howe is a joint biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of his principal advisors. Louis Howe was not only FDR's first political aide, but the only one who also became an intimate personal friend. Other than Harry Hopkins in the late 1930s, he was the only advisor whom Roosevelt trusted completely to serve his interests without distracting personal ambition or a shadowy private agenda. This book is the story of their separate early lives, of the rare chances which brought them together and of their totally intertwined careers after 1912. It deals with their political strategies, their division of labor in a daily partnership, and their feelings for each other, despite frequent differences about tactics. Louis Howe had a haphazard and fragmented career as an upstate New York newspaperman running a family-owned weekly and filling in for Manhattan papers in Albany during legislative sessions. Struck down by illness, Roosevelt turned to Howe to run his campaign for reelection to the New York Senate in 1912. The story carries them through Roosevelt's World War I career as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a disappointing run for the Vice-Presidency in 1920, various attempts at business and Roosevelt's desperate brush with death from polio. It centers on the hectic twenties as Roosevelt fought to walk again and Louis struggled to make his crippled boss an eager and viable candidate for the Presidency. It follows them through a dynamic term as Governor of New York and the victorious 1932 campaign for the White House.
Howe went to the White House with the Roosevelts. He was Secretary to the President but was soon eclipsed by the enormous scope of Roosevelt's affairs and his own quickening illness. He died in 1936, just short of Roosevelt's crucial first campaign for reelection. He could not have imagined how well his protogy would do without him, yet FDR always suffered from the lack of a close, reliable intimate who could say "No" to him. This role was not filled until Harry Hopkins came to share his circle of power.