The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America by Christopher C. Gorham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Anna Marie Rosenberg is one of those women of the 20th century that really oughtn't be forgotten. I mean, she was not only a great role model for anyone, not just other women, but she was instrumental in so many wonderful policies that kept America on track, healthy, and whole.
My personal favorites, other than being FDR's right-hand woman and de facto Secretary of State, ushering in positive policies (New Deal, Social Security, employing women and blacks during the war effort ) and other progressive (one might say, OBVIOUS, but not for the time, inclusion of all capable people) initiatives, was one that we should all be particularly careful to note: Trade Unions.
Before she was the head confidante, chief information gatherer, going so far as to head out among the troops, being at the forefront of learning of the atrocities of WWII, or doing an awful lot to make the post WWII military a bit more efficient, she was a shrewd negotiator with teeth. She quickly earned vast amounts of trust between workers and businesses, cutting through the crap and making sure grievances and proper remuneration and justice would be had on all sides.
This was, of course, during the Great Depression, where there was a lot of homeless and cops and Pinkerton folks were beating up and sometimes murdering workers during the numerous strike busting going on. She understood all the issues and made sure that so many people were handed a little justice.
I bring this up because this little bit of history should be much better known today. The surrounding issues are becoming quite familiar to us. Strike busting never stopped, after all. Massive organization on all sides used to be a thing in America, but this was before the massive PR campaigns and media blackouts and endless funds and lawyers were being poured into ending worker protections.
Anna Marie Rosenberg, were she alive today, would have been at the forefront of organizing the right people, political or otherwise, to make sure regular people had a say.
It's really odd. Back then, it was really, really bad, race-wise, with so many lynchings and overt racism codified into laws, but those times still had it easier when it came to making great changes. Indeed, those social programs, better schools, GI Bills, Social Security itself, and a MUCH higher taxing rate for the richest, was almost unimaginably BETTER than it is now. Indeed, in quite a few ways, all these safety nets are almost back to what it was before the New Deal.
This is where knowing our history is so very important.
We're almost back to the bad old days of the Great Depression and yet we're told on all sides that we're doing great. I'm not saying that they also didn't have their fair share of bold lies and nasty-minded grifters and looters, but at least there were people in actual power, or power-adjacent, like Anna Marie Rosenberg, who could really FIGHT BACK and give us all a chance.
So, if anything, I'd recommend that everyone read this just to have that feeling. That idea that it IS possible to effect real change. I'm so done with example after example of the worst humanity has to offer.
We need to remember that there CAN still be clear-eyed, indefatigable people fighting the good fight.
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