WESTFORD — From practicing law to teaching modern history at Westford Academy, high school teacher Christopher Gorham has published his first book.
The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win World WWII and Shape Modern America details the story of Anna Rosenberg, an influential figure throughout a number of 20th Century presidential administrations.
‘A fortunate accident’
Gorham found inspiration from a photograph of Rosenberg five years ago. The black and white photo depicts Rosenberg with former President Harry Truman.
“It came through a fortunate accident, I saw a picture of Anna Rosenberg with President Truman and it said ‘Assistant Secretary of Defense,’” he said. “I thought, ‘who is this person, I’ve never heard of her.’”
Gorham quickly realized that Rosenberg, a Hungarian immigrant, who, through her quick wit and political acuity, served as an adviser for several presidential administrations, had little historical record of her achievements.
“History has been such a big part of my life from the time I was very very young, and it’s very gratifying to get to this next level and have a book come out,” Gorham said.
Telling Rosenberg’s story
After teaching students about Rosenberg, some decided to create a project on her. After assigning his students to research Rosenberg some students accompanied Gorham to the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University. There, Gorham and his students uncovered a number of records such as photographs and handwritten letters.
Gorham and students began their work to tell Rosenberg’s story.
“As a history teacher, the greatest thing I’ve learned in my 10 years at Westford Academy was how to tell a story,” Gorham tells Sonia Choudhry, junior Westford Academy student and president of Westford Academy Museum Club at Westford Academy.
After years of research, interviews with Rosenberg’s grandson and writing, Gorham’s novel was complete.
The success of Gorham’s book was made possible with contributions by Westford Academy capstone students, Sophia Sloan and Alexandra Ryan. They worked on the bibliography. “I don’t think anyone had as much fun on their capstone as us,” Sloan told Westford Museum director, Linda Greene.
Rosenberg influences ‘significant’ public policy
Rosenberg’s combination of leadership, her abilities to observe and connect, and her profound influence in shaping and implementing many of the nation’s most significant public policies are revealed in the novel.
Gorham mused over Rosenberg as trusted adviser to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman during WWII. She preserved the secrecy of the atomic bomb, and following her mission to wartime Europe, she guided much of the policy direction of the G.I. Bill.
Rosenberg became the first recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1945. During the Truman administration, Rosenberg was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense, where she rebuilt the military and reshaped its policies.
Gorham says Rosenberg’s story is inspiring not only to women, but to anyone who is an engaged citizen wanting to make changes in the U.S.
“I got a lot of nice feedback. It makes my heart feel wonderful that people are getting her story and resonating with it,” Gorham told WestfordCAT.
Gorham will host a book signing event at the Westford Museum on March 12 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sales for the book began on Feb. 21.