In April 1945, the funeral train carrying the body of Franklin D. Roosevelt embarked on a three-day, thousand-mile odyssey through nine states before reaching the president's home where he was buried. Many who would recall the journey later would agree it was a foolhardy idea to start with - putting every important elected figure in Washington on a single train during the biggest war in history. For the American people, of course, the funeral train was just that - the train bearing the body of a deceased FDR. It passed with darkened windows; few gave thought to what might be happening aboard. A closer look inside the train, however, would reveal a soviet spy about to leak a state secret, a newly widowed Eleanor Roosevelt, who just found out that her husband's mistress was in the room when he died, the entire supreme court, the incoming president Harry S Truman, and a casket that may or may not contain the body of the dead president. The thrilling story of what took place behind the Pullman shades, where women whispered and men tossed back highballs, has never been told.
On occasion of the 65th anniversary of FDR's death, Klara chronicles the action-packed three day train ride during which, among other things, Harry Truman hammered out the policies that would galvanize a country in mourning and win the Second World War.
Robert Klara is an editor and writer. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, American Heritage, New Jersey Monthly, and The Christian Science Monitor. Klara has been a staff editor for numerous magazines including Town& Country and Architecture, and has also worked as a researcher for legendary author Gay Talese.