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Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers Hardcover – January 16, 1971

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph P. Lash (1909–1987) was secretary and confidant to Eleanor Roosevelt and the author of numerous acclaimed books.

Arthur M. Schlesinger (1917 - 2007) was a historian who served as special assistant to President John F. Kennedy. Among his many works are the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Age of Jackson and A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (b.1882 — d.1945), 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 765 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 16, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393074595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393074598
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By PlanktonEater on August 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The first time I read this book I felt as though I'd been pulled through a wringer. But I've gone back to it many times as I've learned more about these people.

We're still learning new information about the Roosevelts as correspondence is still popping up. I've read most the major bios of the man and I have to say that the more I read the more I admire him, but the less I like him. Clementine Churchill, of all people, thought FDR the most self-centered/egotistical man she ever met. THAT's saying something! And he was.

Eleanor is a constant source of wonder. I read Blanche Wiesen Cook's "Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 1" before I read this, and most folks should probably do the same as Lash's book is a great deal in one gulp.

But when the book is over you realize that the Roosevelts truly belonged in the White House as few have.

An amazing read about an amazing life.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By simpcity on July 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is not a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt so much as an examination of her life with Franklin. Some of this story is heartbreaking, and one can only come away from this book blown away with wonder.

The story stops with Franklin's death and its immediate aftermath. Since this moment also brings to Eleanor a bitter reaffirmation of Franklin's infidelity, it is very sad. And yet, who can stay upset for long with FDR, who sacrificed himself in the causes in which both he and Eleanor most fervently believed.

The most interesting sections of the book to me related to the various campaigns and especially the historic third- and fourth-term campaigns. The 1940 election exposes the fragility of the presumably monolithic New Deal Coalition.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a great politician. For many years an anti-suffragette, she evolved into one of the great pillars of the New Deal and one of the great architects of the post-WWII order through her role in the founding of the United Nations (a subject beyond the scope of this book).

This is biography at its best.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. Rosenberg on June 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I almost never read anything that can be even mildly construed as having to do with politics. I picked this up because I was going on a trip and it was long - 930 pages to be exact. I assumed it would be about Eleanor and her relationship with Franklin, not about him, and I was right. I really enjoyed reading about her childhood and young aduldhood. I never realized what an amazing person she was and how much she had to overcome.
Yes, there were chapters in this book that I read with a somewhat dazed attention as they included far too many details about far too many people whom I had never heard of. But even in those chapters, Eleanor's light kept me reading.
Highly recommended for its revelation of an extremely important American woman.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on October 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is an exceptional political biography of one of the greatest teams of the 20C. You have FDR, a man of protean energies and charisma, coupled with a wife who brought her own talents and passions to the union. Though he was out in front, Eleanor clearly was a great force in the background, a conscience, choosing her causes, pushing Franklin, and staking out positions with great courage.

Unlike Roosevelt biographies up to this point, Eleanor dominates this one, with FDR's career a kind of frame of the development of her mind and activism. As daughter of Teddy Rooseveldt's elder brother - an alcoholic wastrel whom she loved and feared for - she was born to privilege, position, and private pain. There is a wonderfully horrific scene depicted when she witnessesed, as a pre-teen, her father get drunk in a club and then carried out, a humiliation that marked her deeply.

FDR chose her for marriage, in what Lash describes as a prescient political move: even though she was not as beautiful as the many available debutants of their class and milieu, she would support him and play her role to perfection as he entered electoral politics, subtly guiding him with an equal political genius. They came to embody the New Deal and all the reforms and experiments that period entailed, though again the details of this are in only the background of the book.

Interestingly, Lash covers how burdensome she found her role personally, how it wore her down emotionally and caused her to despair at the moment he was elected president. In this version, she was also unhappy with the intimate side of the marriage: she found sex a burden to bear, finally discovering that FDR was having an affair with her social secretary and friend, Lucy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Whetstone Guy on September 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to read a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt (ER) partially because my deceased mother had told me that ER was a great woman. I totally agree with my mother.

I walk away after reading the book with knowledge of ER's talents, strengths, and faults (not too many faults) and her relationship with her husband Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and many other individuals, particularly FDR's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt.

ER gave more than she got from FDR. Even though FDR betrayed ER by his adulterous relationship with Lucy Mercer prior to being stricken by polio, without ER's remarkable efforts, FDR would have been an invalid emotionally as well as physically after he was stricken.

FDR's marriage with ER was irrevocably damaged after ER learned about FDR's affair with Lucy Mercer. Estrangement within a marriage is sad. After FDR became President (he was President for a little over 12 years) ER and FDR spent a signifcant amount of time apart. ER did not like to go to Warm Springs, Georgia, which FDR found therapeutic. ER even had her own place called Val-Kill at New Hyde Park. And when FDR went to one of Bernard Baruch's homes in South Carolina to rest, he did not take ER with him. Also, both ER and FDR traveled without each other on different political matters. And after ER learned about FDR's affair with Lucy Mercer, ER and FDR had separate bedrooms.

The author, Joseph Lash, a friend of ER, was chosen by FDR Jr., who was ER's literary executor, to write this book. Mr. Lash, an ex-reporter, writes objectively and discreetly about ER and about FDR. FDR was an excellent president (the Allies defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan in a very methodical manner), but he was spoiled, emotionally and materially, as a child.
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Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers
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