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Eleanor vs. Ike: A Novel Paperback – January 8, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Thus edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061373214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061373213
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,455,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of two leadership manuals—including one deriving its principles from the life and thought of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962)—Gerber imagines a what-if for the former first lady in her first novel. In Gerber's fictionalized version of the 1952 Democratic convention, Adlai Stevenson suffers a heart attack and dies on stage moments before he is to accept the nomination. The popular Eleanor, a widow since 1945, is quickly brought in to take his place and run against Eisenhower. Her campaign rallies the support of women, unions and African-Americans, but even her own party doubts that Americans will elect a woman president. There's a sentimental scene in which five-year-old Hillary Rodham meets the former first lady, and a petty scene in which Richard Nixon, then Republican candidate for vice-president, contemplates his dirty fingernails. Eleanor comes across as imperious, intelligent and brave, but clumsy dialogue, historical minutiae and an absence of narrative tension sink the story. The premise is intriguing, though, especially given a former First Lady's run for the nomination. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A fascinating combination of truth and fantasy…a brilliant fictional recreation” (James MacGregor Burns, Pulitzer Prize winning author of ROOSEVELT: The Lion and the Fox)

“a fast-paced, savvy, and oh-so-timely novel of political maneuvering, sexual politics, and human longing.” (Ellen Feldman, author of Lucy)

“the plausibility of [Eleanor Roosevelt’s] candidacy is what kept me turning the pages to see if she would beat Eisenhower!” (House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland)

“I could hardly put the book down as Eleanor’s “what if” political campaign raced toward election day.” (Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary)

“This timely book... had me rooting for [Eleanor Roosevelt] through every plot-twisting, page-turning minute.” (Kitty Kelley, author of The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty)

“[Robin Gerber] has written a crackerjack novel that is both politically and historically astute.” (James Reston, Jr., author of The Conviction of Richard Nixon)

“A truly entertaining and thought-provoking novel of what could have been.” (Donna Brazile)

“Gerber...skillfully blends biographical facts with imaginative fictionin an eminently readable story, one that’s as character-driven as it is plot-centered.” (Jay Strattford)

“Gerber’s attention to the history of the time…combined with a page-turning plot make this chronicle of a campaign-that-might-have-been an entertaining ride.” (Durham-Herald Sun)

More About the Author

Robin Gerber is a national commentator and speaker on leadership, and the author of Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies from the First Lady of Courage (Penguin/Portfolio, 2002) and Katharine Graham: The Leadership Journey of an American Icon with a foreword by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great (Penguin/Portfolio, October, 2005). Her books are used in leadership development courses and corporate programs across the United States. She is also a lawyer and senior faculty for the Gallup Organization, and a senior fellow in Executive Education at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park.

A member of the Board of Contributors for the opinion pages of USA Today, and a columnist for Reader's Digest, Robin also publishes frequently in other national newspapers. She has been a commentator on NPR's Marketplace and Morning Edition, and has appeared on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer and dozens of radio talk shows.

Robin is an inspirational keynote speaker on leadership development, using moving stories from the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt, Katharine Graham and other great leaders to illustrate leadership lessons.

Her clients include Bank of America, IBM, Marriott, Legg Mason, JP Morgan/Chase, Freddie Mac, Aetna Information Services, the AARP, Lee Hecht Harrison, Giant Food, The Culinary Institute, West Point, the U.S. Forest Service, the Council for Excellence in Government, The 3rd Quality Conference of the European Union, and many universities, colleges, girls' schools, nonprofits and government agencies. She also has a select client list for executive coaching. Prior to becoming an author, Robin practiced law in Washington, D.C. and worked on Capitol Hill. She has studied and written about leadership development since 1975.



Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
I enjoyed this book immensely.
S. M. Foote
Beautifully imagined and researched, this is a historical novel about what might have been.
I. Giannini
This piece of historical fiction was great fun.
Daniel Kulpinski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Klobas VINE VOICE on April 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Robin Gerber's alternate history novel is based on an intriguing premise: as he takes the stage to accept the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952, Adlai Stevenson suffers a fatal heart attack. Facing a fractious convention and a politically formidable Republican nominee, the party's leaders turn to Eleanor Roosevelt and ask her to serve as their standard-bearer. After reluctantly accepting the offer, Roosevelt begins a spirited campaign with the help of a rising young campaign manager and the devotion of her many passionate supporters. Yet in addition to her long odds and a nationally popular opponent, she must also undertake an additional challenge that no nominee before her has ever had to address: that of convincing Americans that the nation is indeed ready for a female president.

Like science fiction in general, alternate history is a genre dominated by the interests and attitudes of men. Because of this, many scenarios focus on wars or the decisions made by political leaders. This is what makes Gerber's book so refreshingly different. Her focus on Eleanor Roosevelt offers a nice change of pace, supplying an imaginative speculation of the type that distinguishes the best works of the genre. Having written a previous, non-fiction book on Roosevelt, Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies from the First Lady of Courage, she has an easy familiarity with the particulars of her life, which allows Gerber to develop her into a well-defined character. Yet this book is about more than just Eleanor Roosevelt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Kulpinski on February 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
This piece of historical fiction was great fun. Robin Gerber brings the characters to life and weaves a story that is believable and captivating. The historical details and political intrigue pulled me in like a magnet; I couldn't wait to see how it turned out!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By I. Giannini on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Beautifully imagined and researched, this is a historical novel about what might have been. Gerber, an asute political commentator, has an uncanny ability to bring you into the room with Eleanor, Ike, and the always-smarmy Nixon and show you what might have been. Don't miss this book; it's a terrific ride!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PlanktonEater on February 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this out of a sense of duty to keep people writing Eleanor books. But I found it a fun read. Some of the early explanations of the texture of ER's life, marriage, etc. come off as Lifetime Channel fluff, but that's a minor complaint.

I think the characters are written pretty authentically, and I love the theme of mutual political blackmail. I've seen that happen in campaigns.

I wonder why Roosevelt's being named 'co-respondent' in Earl Miller's 1947 divorce was not used also.

Sad, how little things have changed since then.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy Berger on March 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
An unpopular war leaves a country divided, a protracted primary further divides the Democratic party and an ex-military officer runs against a former first lady. Was Robin Gerber writing a fictional what-if Eleanor Roosevelt ran against General Eisenhower? Or was she predicting the future with this uncanny parallel to the 2008 elections? An educational and thoroughly entertaining read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary L. Jordan on January 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
Go out immediately and purchase Robin Gerber's enthralling political novel. Not only will you be rewarded with an entertaining and suspenseful tale positing Eleanor Roosevelt as the Democratic nominee in the 1952 presidential election,you will also appreciate Gerber's vast knowledge of our election process. Gerber is an expert on Eleanor Roosevelt and the subject of leadership. That fact, along with her meticulous attention to detail, made the story come alive for me and provided me with unique insights into the former first lady's character. What a fun read in this election year - or any other time for that matter.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ariel Rubin on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Just read and LOVED this book. Gerber's insight into Eleanor's character coupled with fascinating historical details creates a spellbinding novel that really makes you ask - could this have happened?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Wells on January 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
What a great book to read in an election year! I couldn't put it down. The real vs. alternate history is seamless, and Eleanor makes a terrific candidate. I don't want to reveal the ending, but it kept me up reading until I found out who won!
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