cover of book

The President's Man: Leo Crowley and Franklin Roosevelt in Peace and War
by Stuart L. Weiss
Southern Illinois University Press, 1996
eISBN: 978-0-8093-8367-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8093-1996-1
Library of Congress Classification E807.W46 1996
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.917092


Leo Crowley has been known only as the administrator condemned by President Truman for cutting off Soviet lend-lease after V-E Day. Stuart L. Weiss revises this view while exploring Crowley’s long, significant state and federal career, emphasizing his service as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s man for all seasons.

Weiss deals effectively with Crowley’s flaws and virtues as well as those of the administrations he served. Crowley was confirmed as chair of the FDIC in 1934 despite a charge, unknown to President Roosevelt, that Crowley had committed fraud as a banker in Wisconsin. Crowley then served with distinction for more than eleven years as the administration twice buried a 1935 Treasury Department report that, had it been handed to Wisconsin authorities, could have sent him to prison: Roosevelt valued Crowley’s political and administrative talents too highly to allow that to happen.

In 1939, Roosevelt, anxious to have business support for stopping the Axis powers, encouraged Crowley to take the chair of a holding company about to be prosecuted by the SEC. After Pearl Harbor, like priorities prompted the president first to name Crowley alien property custodian, then chair of the Board of Economic Warfare to supplant Roosevelt’s politically troublesome vice president, and, finally, foreign economic administrator, the person responsible for civilian lend-lease activity

In this vibrant biography, Weiss furnishes the reader with detailed portraits of a man faithful to his president even when he disagreed with him and of a president willing to do what he felt was necessary for the good of the country.

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