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Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady Hardcover – September 27, 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press (September 27, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159420540X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594205408
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Neal Reynolds VINE VOICE on July 10, 2016
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As an 83 year old, I am part of a homophobic generation, and as such, I initially felt uncomfortable with this book's allegation of Eleanor Roosevelt's being a lesbian. However, I gained a better understanding of Eleanor Roosevelt, the woman and of her lover, reporter, Lorena Hickock.

Through this book, I relived my early years, especially the WWII years. The book depicts the relationship between the two women with tenderness and understanding and this indeed impressed me. I found this to be a very easy and fast read, one that I've gained understanding from....not only understanding of the relationship, but also understanding of just what was going on through those years in which I was too young to have understanding of what was going on in the world.

And so I recommend this book with only slight reservation. The author does wander a bit. However, that's not really bad. This is a good read for all those interested in the history of the Roosevelt years. I no longer feel disturbed by the author's allegations. I've gained a new pwerpective and I do strongly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In recent years, Eleanor Roosevelt's (1884 - 1962) bisexuality has been made public. For a number of years, she and her partner Lorena Hickock (1893 - 1968) developed a deep and close personal relationship. Both women had survived childhood abuse. Both chafed at the androcentric, chauvinistic world in which they lived. Both were drawn to each other.

This is a very fast paced book and to the author's credit, no apologies are made for the fact that these two women loved one another. Another good thing about this book is that it shows how two women can successfully find love and it helps dispel homophobia, which sadly was the order of the day when these women met one another. The tone of acceptance can be found throughout the book and that is what makes it such a good read. It is well known that FDR had a mistress for many years. It is also well known that these two distant cousins who married did not have a marriage made in heaven. Their son Elliott Roosevelt chronicles this in his books about Eleanor and Franklin.

Eleanor and Lorena wrote each other loving missives over the years which support the fact that they loved each other intimately. To author Susan Quinn's credit she presents this loving paring in a straightforward and matter of fact manner, much as Hick covered the news during her career as a news reporter.

These women in some ways appear to be obverse sides of a coin. Eleanor was the classic "poor little rich girl" whose society mother was disinterested in her. The then future First Lady grew up in an emotionally bankrupt house and had feelings of inferiority because of her appearance. Hick was born into poverty and became motherless at age 14. She went to work at a very early age and earned her diploma.
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Eleanor Roosevelt was a complex woman who was always searching for love. Like her relationship with Franklin, she had many relationships with many people and often times on many levels. In addition to the books I have read about her relationship with Franklin, I have read books about her relationship with Earl Miller, Joseph Lash, David Gurewitsch and an earlier book about her and Hick.

While I have always been a great admirer of Mrs. Roosevelt, I came away from this book liking her a little less in terms of her personal relationships. In telling the story of her relationship with Hick, Author Quinn demonstrates that they had a great love for each other. But the author also shows a greater love on the part of Hick for Eleanor. While I believe that Eleanor truly loved Hick, her relationships seemed to be transitory and then she moved on. But maybe that is not such an uncommon event in human relationships.

Quinn makes only a few passing references to Eleanor's relationship with her driver Earl Miller. But for a number of years they had an extremely close relationship. But then she moved on. And I recall feeling very sorry for Miller when it ended. I had a similar feeling about Hick. While Eleanor kept in contact with Hick and took care of her, emotionally Eleanor moved on, like she did Earl and Lash when she developed the relationship with Gurewitsch.

But because of my great admiration for Eleanor Roosevelt, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and also consider that I am not living at that time and place. Quinn's book is a tender story of a relationship between two women when such relationships were not accepted. While Quinn gives a decent account of the events in the parties lives, I thought that at times the research was a little thin.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved this book, couldn’t put it down, and didn’t want it to end. I found the book to be historically fascinating--knowing what was going on behind the scenes of the Roosevelt presidency was really compelling; and in this day and age of "everyone knows everything," it was really surprising to find out who was living in the White House with the Roosevelts. Hick lived there for a number of years.

It’s hard to imagine the first lady taking a road trip without the secret service but Eleanor and Hick took several such trips on their own. It was a different time when media didn’t have total access. Hick was a reporter who knew all but did not tell all. She eventually changed careers as it was difficult to be so close to Eleanor and remain objective in her reporting.

I cared about Eleanor before starting this book and now I care about Hick too. They both contributed an amazing amount to Roosevelt’s success letting him know what was most needed around the country and pushing for programs that were needed by desperate people.

If you love history, you will appreciate this book. If you don’t love history, you still might like it.
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