Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1933) by Blanche Wiesen Cook
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Penguin; (March 1, 1993)
Eleanor’s Wedding day to her cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Eleanor Roosevelt was born into the privileges and prejudices of American aristocracy and into a family ravaged by alcoholism. She overcame debilitating roots: in her public life, fighting against racism and injustice and advancing the rights of women; and in her private life, forming lasting intimate friendships with some of the great men and women of her times.
This landmark biography provides a compelling new evaluation of one of the most inspiring women in American political history. Celebrated by feminists, historians, politicians, and reviewers everywhere, it presents an unprecedented portrait of a brave, fierce, passionate political leader of our century.
I never read about Eleanor Roosevelt before and I am totally embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know that she was a Roosevelt even before she married Franklin, and that they were cousins. So when I tell you that “history” was not interesting to me when I was young… this should prove it!
It is rare when I try to blame someone else for my own failings, but in this case I will say I feel it truly is because of a teacher. (but also my own fault for not climbing above it). I do remember in elementary school (about 4th or 5th grades) being very interested in history.. back when we were learning of Columbus and Magellan and the likes. But when I went to high school the teacher I had was also one I had in 6th grade. My first mark in his class was a “C” (they had stopped giving plus’s and minus’s) so I went to him for encouragement and asked if I might have been a “high C”. What he said ruined the rest of my learning history in high school.. I remember his words like it was yesterday and can quote them: You were a C student in 6th grade and you will always be a C student. I can tell you I never read another history book. Never took a test (signed my name and turned in the paper) never learned a thing and got straight C’s. So when I hear of a teacher that actually encourages his or her students I say, Hooray for teachers!.
Ok enough of that.. let me talk about this book, which is volume one.
The book begins with the relatives of Eleanor (yet born) which did confuse me somewhat since as I mentioned, I did not know she was already a Roosevelt. Her father was an alcoholic but something her mother did do for Eleanor was she never really told her or talked down about him, and so when Eleanor found herself with a missing father most of the time she fantasized him as her hero. And for many years he did write to her and kept in touch in this manner but seldom was around.
The book covers her years of learning including 2 yrs of schooling in an all girls school in England. Soon after debutante Eleanor had to make the coming out parties where she eventually met FDR.
After their marriage the book covers the birth of their 5 children, Eleanor’s interests in all things concerning woman’s right’s and also interests in education, and help for the poor. Things which would remain with Eleanor her entire life.
There is much more to the book and I have to say I found it very interesting even when it concerned a lot of politics, which I am not particularly found of . Eleanor Roosevelt was quite the lady and no matter how much you think you know about her.. there is always something more to find out about her.
This is volume one of 2 volumes written by Blanche Wiesen Cook. Book 2 goes from 1933-1938, which is far from her entire life since Eleanor did not pass away until 1962. There are many books about Eleanor Roosevelt and I would say if you have any interest in her at all that you should pick up and read at least one of them, because she was an amazing lady.