- Historic Sites
FDR’s War with Polio
Have historians underestimated the importance of Roosevelt’s twenty-four-year struggle with the disease that made him a paraplegic?
June/july 1985 | Volume 36, Issue 4
Still, this book provides a vivid and useful antidote to traditional accounts of FDR’s illness, and it is filled with examples of Roosevelt’s gallantry. In the summer of 1944, for example, the President visited a Hawaiian naval hospital overlooking Pearl Harbor. He was already failing and gray with fatigue, but when he learned that there were some eighteen hundred wounded men in the orthopedic wards, many of them amputees, he insisted on wheeling himself from bed to bed so that the newly maimed men could see what they had in common with their Commander-in-Chief.