This Week's Book Review - The Confidante

The Confidante
Looking for a good read? Here is a recommendation. I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review. You do not have to agree with everything every author has written (I do not), but the fiction I review is entertaining (and often thought-provoking) and the non-fiction contain ideas worth reading.

Book Review

An Immigrant Woman in America’s Inner Circles

Reviewed by Mark Lardas
March 12, 2023

“The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America,” by Christopher C. Gorham, Citadel, 2023, 384 pages, $28.00 (Hardcover), $23.80 (Ebook), $18.37 (Audiobook)

Anna Marie Rosenberg became one of the most influential women in the United States during the middle of the 20th Century. An advisor to Presidents who shaped public policy from the New Deal to the Cold War, she is almost entirely forgotten today.

“The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America,” by Christopher C. Gorham is a first biography of this influential woman. It recounts a life that should be better known today.

Born Anna Marie Lederer, in Budapest, Hungary, she moved to New York City with her mother and younger sister in 1912 to join her father, who arrived there in 1910. There, Gorham shows, she became the classic American immigrant success story.

She made her mark early, mediating a student strike during World War I while attending Wadleigh High School for Girls. While still in high school she married Julius Rosenberg, a World War I veteran she met as a pen pal.

As a suffragette, she became involved in New York City Democratic politics. She launched that into a career in public relations and as a labor relations mediator. She gained a reputation for fair dealing, respected by labor and management alike.

Despite her foreign origins and her Jewish background, she was soon accepted as a member of the then-WASPish upper echelons of American public life, becoming close to Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, and making friends across party lines and social lines.

When Roosevelt became President, he enlisted Rosenberg to help with the New Deal, using her in senior positions in National Industrial Recovery Act and Social Security, the only woman at those levels. During World War II she became one of Roosevelt’s troubleshooters, calming race relations, and running different offices dealing with manpower.

In 1944 Roosevelt sent her to Europe to investigate demobilization issues. She helped create the GI Bill. Later she would become Assistant Secretary of Defense under Truman during the Korean War, despite opposition by Joe McCarthy.

Despite her accomplishments, she fell out of step with the Democratic Party as it lurched left in the 1960s. That combined with her writing no memoirs (and documenting little of her career) led to obscurity as the century ended.

Gorham’s biography may help restore her to public consciousness. Although he provides a comprehensive account of her career, “The Confidante” is also a human and intimate portrait of a remarkable woman.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is


Any relation to Ethel Rosenberg?

1 Like

Absolutely none. Nor was her husband Julius related to Julius Rosenberg the spy. It was an unfortunate coincidence. (I’ll bet John Walker has experienced getting compared to other John Walkers to whom he is completely unrelated to or unassociated with.)

That did not stop McCarthy from trying to paint Anna Rosenberg as a Commie spy in House hearings. This despiter her staunch anticommunist positions. He got squashed by both Democrats and Republicans. Rosenberg had the gift of being friends with everyone - both parties as well as labor and management.


Isn’t it odd? Senator McCarthy was roundly condemned by Democrats & Republicrats alike for alleging that the State Department had Communist sympathizers at very high levels. And yet – history has demonstrated beyond any doubt that Senator McCarthy was right. History that is still ignored by all the Best People.

Stepping back to the broader picture, it is also increasingly obvious that FDR’s regime was in reality a disaster for the US. His vast (and un-Constitutional) expansion of intrusive government set the US on the slippery slope to Fascism – the slope we are still sliding down today. His multiplicity of new agencies extended the Great Depression rather than bringing it to a close. He did everything he could to provoke Japan into attacking the US, and then once war was declared switched his focus to saving Stalin’s Communist regime. Modern scholarship such as Sean McMeekin’s “Stalin’s War”, Thomas Fleming’s “The New Dealer’s War”, and Herbert Hoover’s “Freedom Betrayed” portray a much less complimentary picture of FDR and his coterie than that advanced by the usual suspects.

Now, perhaps Anna Rosenberg was merely a naive woman who was misused by FDR’s inner circle. But if she had been a Communist infiltrator who helped to put the US on its current path to ruin, then her decision not to write any memoirs might have been a smart move.


For an even-handed, ultimately revisionist assessment of the career of Joseph McCarthy, see Blacklisted by History by M. Stanton Evans.


Thank you for the reference to Evans’ book, Mr. W. Adding it to the to-be-read stack now!

The fact that the demonization of Senator McCarthy remains mainstream even after the publication of the Venona transcripts is a serious reminder of the refusal of Our Betters to see that which they would rather not see. It makes it easier to understand today’s idiocies like the persistence of the party line on the CovidScam, on the January 6 “Insurrection”, and on the allegations of Russian interference in US elections; and is a clear reminder to all of us to mistrust anything asserted by anyone in the Political Class.


Thing is McCarthy was wrong almost as much as he was right. Plus he went after people (including Rosenberg) just because he was pissed at them or their sponsors, not because he seriously thought they were Communists. He started the Army hearings because one of his aides got drafted.

In some ways he reminds me of today’s Woke activists. He certainly behaved like they do.