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Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 1: 1884-1933 Paperback – Bargain Price, March 1, 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This highly readable, well-researched work of feminist scholarship erases the image of the young Eleanor Roosevelt as a long-suffering, repressed wife and presents her as a strong, ever-evolving individual. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Continuing a major biography.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (March 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140094601
  • ASIN: B0043RT9BC
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,435,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert S. Clay Jr. on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Eleanor Roosevelt's passions impress those who recall her later public image as a dowdy grandmother-type. No cracks about prominent teeth, please. Author Blanche Wiesen Cook does a commendable job of telling a familiar story from a fresh perspective. This book details ER's life from childhood to the beginning of her career as First Lady. The theme of the book is ER as "assertive, independent, and bold." As long as she lived by other people's expectations, ER was stifled. After she asserted her independence, she was happier and more successful. "She feared rigidities," Cook asserts. She abhorred the judgmental absolutes that she thought contributed to her parents' problems and early deaths. ER aspired to walk in the humanist footsteps of her mentor and great teacher, Marie Souvestre. Intriguing questions of ER's private life remain unanswered because she destroyed many of her personal letters and papers. Her marriage to Franklin Roosevelt was mercurial, and the boundaries grew undefined. After 1918, a crisis year in their marriage, ER formed a number of associations with women social activists. She embarked in new directions, and tirelessly supported women's issues. Ironically, she opposed the 1920s version of the equal rights amendment because she felt it would remove protections that women enjoyed under the laws of that time. Woven through the tapestry of the narrative are questions of ER's love life. Her close working friendships with lesbian activists, at minimum, suggest Sapphic possibilities. ER's views of love and sex were nonconformist, and included men and women. Both Earl Miller and Lorena Hickock played special roles in her life. Cook writes of Eleanor Roosevelt as a three-dimensional woman of joy and sorrow. This book is an eye opening and enjoyable read. Highly recommended. ;-)
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Format: Paperback
I thought I was a decent student of American history; well, I am, sort of. Of MALE American history.
Not once in all my years of school have I ever had a history class that focused on the great women leaders in our nation's history--including Eleanor Roosevelt. It is a travesty that needs to be rectified ... and it can be by reading this biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
What a woman! Was she perfect? No. Did she always do the right thing? Nope. Was she always presented in the best possible light? Nada.
Instead, what Blanche Cook did was present a portrait of a very real Eleanor Roosevelt--warts and all.
I never once gave consideration to reading about Eleanor--until I read a NEW YORK TIMES' review of the second volume of the biography. It compelled me to purchase the first; I will now read the second. I would encourage any and all women to do the same simply because what we have been able to accomplish in today's world can be directly connected to Eleanor Roosevelt, her contemporaries, and her mentors.
We owe it to her legacy; we also owe it to the children of today's schools to learn about her in our history classes. These women deserve mention as much--if not more--than the heroes of the Revolutionary War, the great presidents, the fighters of the Civil War, the World Wars, etc., etc.
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Format: Paperback
Most books that I have read on Eleanor Roosevelt stress that no matter how revolutionary she might have seemed, she lived her life within certain bounds for her time. Yet this book demonstrates that the historical character and the real woman are very different. The author portrays Eleanor as a woman who did not find herself until her mid-thirties and then was determined to live as she wanted. Her marriage to Franklin was not fulfilling and she needed more. She found this with various life long friends who shared her passion for politics and social change. The author does an excellent job staying on track, and keeping Eleanor in the forefront. This is definitely not a biography of Franklin! I found the information on the early life of Eleanor to be especially interesting, in how so many of the obstacles that she faced as a youth played a large role in how she dealt with others the rest of her life. Her childhood is hearbreaking and I can't help but think that even for all her wealth and priviledge, how sad her childhood was. She seemed to search all her life to find a home and finally decided to create her own with her friends, not her family. Even though she had five children, their lives were controlled by her mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt. Rather than become depressed at the various obstacles presented by her life, she rose above them and ultimately became a very fulfilled and happy person.
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Format: Paperback
Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the most inspirational and influential people of the 20th century, despite her own protests to the contrary. While Ms. Cook's biography reveals many insights into Mrs. Roosevelt's private and public lives, certain of the author's own subjective opinions color what information is missing or has been destroyed regarding this wonderful first lady; these opinions are certainly open to debate. Overall, though, the book inspires all to pursue dreams, to grow throughout a lifetime, to change to fit the times and the needs of one's world. Eleanor's own education about living provides a basis from which to begin living life to the fullest. It is this hope and fortitude that Ms. Cook best captures.
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