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The Autobiography Of Eleanor Roosevelt (Quality Paperbacks Series) Paperback – February, 2000
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Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) said some pretty interesting things in her lifetime. I've collected many of her quotes as they inspire me. So it was really her motivating words that made me want to read about her life. And what an interesting life she led. Her whole life sounded to me like a life lived in service to others. After reading this book I came away with the impression that Eleanor Roosevelt was a very brave woman who truly wanted to understand the world and sought out every opportunity to do good in some way.
Eleanor Roosevelt lived through two world wars and a serious depression. She was also married to Franklin D. Roosevelt and as a president's wife had many opportunities to influence those in power. I'd say she was one of the most influential people I've ever read about. In this book she records many interesting conversations she had with kings and queens and other world leaders. Even after her husband's death she continued to travel the world meeting with people who had the power to change history.
I found Eleanor Roosevelt's writing style to be cozy and compelling. I was completely captivated by her life in her own words. I think you can learn a lot from this book no matter what political party you support. As someone who was never really that interested in history this book made history come alive for me. I also liked that Eleanor Roosevelt had a deep personal interest in the welfare of others.
~The Rebecca Review
She also frequently provides a degree of detail that again, to me, is tedious while adding nothing of value. Names that almost seem to be included to avoid giving offense to someone who might later read the book and feel left out if they weren't mentioned. On page 118 she goes into detail about the house the family lived in at the time and who stayed in what room and why: "I had given my daughter, who was fifteen that winter, the choice of a large room at the front of the third floor, which she would be obliged to share with the nurse during the afternoon and early evening, or a small room on the fourth floor rear, next to Elliott's room. This she would have entirely to herself. She chose the latter." Seriously, who cares about which bedroom her teenage daughter chose and why in whatever house they were living in at the time? She goes on:
"Mr. Howe took the big room on the third floor, as he had come to live with us during the week, because his wife could find no apartment in New York which was suitable both to their needs and their purse. During the weekends he journeyed to Poughkeepsie, where his wife and little boy were installed in a house and his daughter was a Vasser College. he was downtown most of the day at my husband's office, so the nurse could use his room undisturbed."
Again, I really don't care where Mr. Howe slept or that he went to Poughkeepsie on the weekends to be with his family.
Much of the book is like this--unfocused, rambling, and like it might have benefited greatly from the services of a good editor. I'd use this book as a reference or to read about a specific event or period in Mrs. Roosevelt's life, but not to read from cover to cover to learn more about her. For that I'd get a biography written by an actual historian/writer.