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Eleanor Roosevelt: The Defining Years:Volume Two 1933-1938: The Defining Years: 1933-1938 Vol II (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1933-1938) Paperback – 29 Jun 2000
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"Irresistibly readable...Cook's portrait of a woman in the thick of things during the hardest of times will stand as definitive." --Washington Post"Cook gets at the tender, sprightly creature behind the starchy, strident image."--Maureen Dowd, New York Times Book Review.
From the Back Cover
THE BIOGRAPHY OF AMERICA'S MOST COMPELLING, CHARISMATIC, AND VISIONARY FIRST LADY
Feminists, historians, politicians, and critics everywhere have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook's Eleanor Roosevelt as the definitive portrait of the towering female figure of the twentieth century. In her long-awaited second volume, Cook delves into the monumental era of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the gathering storms of World War II -- the years of the Roosevelts' greatest challenges and achievements. Cook gives us the complete Eleanor Roosevelt -- a visionary policy-maker and social activist, a loyal wife, a devoted mother, and a woman who courted romance and adventure. She wrote, she published, she traveled, she lobbied, she joined grassroots organizations and radical communities with a zeal that sparked controversy everywhere.
Intimate, sympathetic, and acute, this is an unparalleled portrait of a woman whose life was filled with passionate commitment and who struggled for personal fulfillment. It is a biography of vibrant scholarship and daring, a book for all readers of American history and politics, and, finally, a book for everyone who cares about a decent future for all people.See all Product description
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Eleanor Roosevelt had always been a champion of the downtrodden and oppressed, had always been a voice for the voiceless, a champion of freedom and liberalism – but FDR’s election to the Presidency, and the desperate poverty and hardship of the Depression, gave her a position and an authority to really make a difference, and she took full advantage of it. As a result of FDR’s disability, Eleanor was his eyes and ears across the country, and she took that initial role and made it something entirely her own.
She disagreed with her husband on many occasions, publicly and vehemently at times, and scarcely ever felt constrained by his position or politics to self-censor herself. One notable exception was in international affairs, and Eleanor was noticeably silent on the issue of Germany’s treatment of the Jews. Yet she had other ways of making her feelings known, and she was incredibly active on behalf of organisations championing tolerance – whether that was combating anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, anti-communism. At times this drew an immense amount of conservative criticism, yet by the close of 1938 Eleanor was outpolling FDR in terms of approval ratings.
These years were also defined by Eleanor’s intensely close relationship with Lorena Hickok, a newspaper reporter, who became one of ER’s closest friends, perhaps more. Certainly their letters display an intense love, tenderness and passion for one another, but as with so many aspects of ER’s internal emotional life much is still left a mystery. But Wiesen Cook handles the potentially controversial issue with great respect and delicacy, and it only serves to illustrate just what a complex, fascinating personality Eleanor Roosevelt was. Roll on the final volume!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This volume is a much harder read than volume 1 as this version grinds to a screeching halt in places. While I agree it was important to document ERs long, tortured relationship with Lorena Hickock, too much emphasis (and repetition) was placed on what looks to be a normal parting-of-the-ways as ER ascended.
There are some very intriguing and thoughtful moments in this book (which makes its a worthwhile read), but they are broken up by too many abrupt harbringers of moral/political doom or redemption with sparse or no follow-up.