The serious illness of three presidents-Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy-as well as the injury Ronald Reagan received in the assassination attempt upon him have revealed our woefully inadequate system for handling presidential incapacity. The authors believe that this flawed system poses a major threat to the nation, and they provide sobering reports on how the government functioned (or failed to function) during times of presidential impairment. The public was kept in the dark regarding the gravity of the presidential condition, often unaware that critical decisions were being made while the president was suffering from a severe illness.
Hidden Illness in the White House contains startling new information on the severity of Roosevelt's illness during the crucial Yalta negotiations and the fact that Kennedy suffered from Addison's disease, a life-threatening illness, long before he was elected to the presidency. In each case the authors demonstrate that a largely successful effort was made to conceal the president's true medical condition from the public.
Foreword / Birch Bayh vii Preface ix Acknowledgments xiii 1. Illness and History: An Overview 1 2. Woodrow Wilson: Strokes, Versailles, and the Pathology of Politics 13 3. Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Diagnosis of an "Unexpected" Death 75 4. Diplomacy and Failing Health: Roosevelt and the Final Decline 121 5. John F. Kennedy: "I'm the Healthiest Candidate" 160 6. The Twenty-fifth Amendment and the Decisions of History 203 Notes 243 Index 263