The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America (Hardcover)

The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America By Christopher C. Gorham Cover Image
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Perfect for readers of A Woman of No Importance, Three Ordinary Girls, and Eleanor: A Life comes the first-ever biography of Anna Marie Rosenberg, the Hungarian Jewish immigrant who became FDR’s closest advisor during World War II and, according to Life, “the most important official woman in the world” —a woman of many firsts, whose story, forgotten for too long, is extraordinary, inspiring, and uniquely American. Her life ran parallel to the front lines of history yet her influence on 20th century America, from the New Deal to the Cold War and beyond, has never before been told.

A Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee

As Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s special envoy to Europe in World War II she went where the president 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 its capture. She guided the direction of the G.I. Bill of Rights and the Manhattan Project. Though Anna Rosenberg emerged from modest immigrant beginnings, equipped with only a 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 then 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 John F. Kennedy’s infamous 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 health care.

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.

“Far and away the most important woman in the American government, and perhaps the most important official female in the world.” —LIFE magazine, 1952

About the Author

Christopher C. Gorham is a lawyer, educator, and acclaimed author of The Confidante, which was a Goodreads Choice Award finalist. With degrees in history from Tufts University and the University of Michigan, he served on the editorial staff of the Syracuse Law Review while earning his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post and in online journals. He lives with his wife in Watertown and Chatham, Massachusetts, and can be found online at

Praise For…

Praise for The Confidante

“This is a must-read for everyone. Christopher Gorham has written a book that is a fascinating look at the years between The Great Depression and The Cold War, and one woman who had a huge impact on all of it. A woman whose name we should all know.” The Gloss

"The Confidante covers four decades and some of the most future-shaping legislation ever passed by the U.S. government. Through it all, we can see Rosenberg’s fingerprints across the nation’s major events. As a result, Mr. Gorham’s biography is also a mystery. How could we have forgotten such a woman? ...What The Confidante provides, with cinematic color and encyclopedic clarity, is a resurrection of that history.” The Wall Street Journal

“(Anna Rosenberg’s) immense influence on American politics, multiple wars, and America’s public affairs, long overlooked, is once again brought to the forefront in this wonderfully told book, perfect for readers of history, biography, politics, and feminism.” Booklist

“An adviser to presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson, Anna Rosenberg (1899-1983) was a prominent national figure whose present obscurity is perplexing. Gorham, a lawyer and American history teacher…. delivers a vivid account of her eventful life. …Even history buffs may be surprised….  A well-deserved first biography.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An eye-opening biography of presidential advisor Anna Rosenberg…. This is a fitting tribute to a trailblazer.”  —Publishers Weekly

“Far and away the most important woman in the American government, and perhaps the most important official female in the world.” —LIFE magazine, 1952

“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 and Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre: Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy
“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

“Rosenberg was a woman who rose to postings that were supposed to be the preserve of men, and she was a patriot who helped us win World War II and protect the home front. Heroine, indeed.” Larry Tye, author of Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

"Gorham's biography is a must read for anyone interested in the FDR years and anyone concerned about current crises. The Confidante deserves a wide audience." Andrew Kersten, author of Labor’s Home Front

Product Details
ISBN: 9780806542003
ISBN-10: 0806542004
Publisher: Citadel
Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Pages: 384
Language: English