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Eleanor and Franklin

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  2,102 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Eleanor and Franklin is one of the most highly acclaimed biographies written in recent times. Its author, Joseph Lash, won the Pulitzer and National Book Award in biography, as well as the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians. Its focus is Eleanor Roosevelt and her complex relationship with FDR. Based on her personal papers and ranging from her birth ...more
Published January 1st 1973 by Signet (first published 1971)
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Susan O
Eleanor and Franklin cronicles the evolution of Eleanor Roosevelt from an insecure girl and young woman into a woman who would impact the lives of many, many people. When visiting US installations during WWII, more than once she heard soldiers cry out "Hey, there's Eleanor!" She radiated warmth and compassion with a down-to-earth style that made people feel like she belonged to them in some way. In many ways she did belong to them. She lived her life in service of others because she truly cared ...more
Aug 09, 2016 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Eleanor and Franklin” by Joseph P. Lash was published in 1971 and earned the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Lash was a radical political activist but grew disillusioned with communism and later became a journalist and author. His 23-year friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt (and proprietary access to her personal papers in 1966) formed the basis for this authorized biography. Lash died in 1987 at the age of 77.

The book’s title notwithstanding, this is not a d
Jun 13, 2016 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an odd reading experience. Normally I finish books quickly, which isn't at all a boast. I have often envied those who engage with books languidly, savouring the experience. I, on the other hand, have long sessions, breaking books and getting indigestion. It was impossible to do that with this book: it was dense. Really, really dense with tiny font and squished paragraphs that gave me images of Lash sitting on an overfilled suitcase trying to zip it while also pleading with his publisher ...more
Oct 15, 2015 Vivian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been on a Roosevelt family kick, since watching the PBS series about the Roosevelts last month. The accompanying book was a good overview, but just got me interested in learning more details about Eleanor. This book more than quenched my desire: a bit too long - I wanted details, I got details! - but a very thorough accounting of Eleanor's years before and during her marriage to FDR. I was exhausted just reading about her many, many activities, and while it seemed like she had a very full l ...more
Erik Graff
Jan 19, 2016 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American history fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
The title notwithstanding this is a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, almost of two Eleanor Roosevelts. The first ER was a daughter of wealth and leisure, her life being a succession of parties, trips, sporting events, dances and receptions, punctuated only by a notable three-year finishing education in England. I found this part, virtually half the book, both boring and depressing, given the vacuity of the favored lives recounted therein. Then, after her marriage to the ambitious Franklin, Eleano ...more
Apr 14, 2009 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice, readable biography, primarily of Elaenor Roosevelt. Ok, I'll admit I didn't quite finish it, but I got almost to the war. I was half way through the book when I realized it ended at Franklins death, which I found rather stunning and disappointing since she did so much after he died. I chose this biography because it had won the Pulitzer and was presumably reasonably accurate and well written, and because it was written by a family friend. I wasn't in the mood for a sensationaly, ...more
Nov 20, 2013 Helen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After Eleanor Roosevelt's death, her children gave family friend Joseph Lash, who had already written a memoir on Eleanor, her private papers with the hopes that he could compile them into a book. An incredibly daunting task, and I applaud his efforts.

However, if you're going to call a book Eleanor and Franklin, and subtitle it with the claim that it's the story of their relationship, maybe you should begin with their relationship, and not with Eleanor's childhood. Sure, there was a lot of grea
Aug 12, 2009 Raymond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Eleanor & Franklin" is an awesome achievement of interview, research and writing. Joseph Lash produced a tome which ever will be valued by scholars and historians. I think I have never read all of this giant book but I have read some chapters/parts two times, or three times.
Standing in front of Mt. Fuji and being disappointed. I have had that experience. My reaction to, "Eleanor & Franklin," is similar. Here is a Mt. Fuji of historical literature but I still do not know the actual inte
Gasuski Suski
May 31, 2010 Gasuski Suski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down, you hear so much of the Franklin Presidency and now you learn so much of Eleanor. It has letters that she and Franklin wrote to each other. I love books that put you in the life of the character almost on a day to day basis. In the beginning of her life you would have never expected Eleanor to be such an important part of the presidency; which I don't know if that was bad or good. It was a corporate marriage as I would call it. My next goal is to read what her lif ...more
Aug 10, 2013 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Magnificently written book about a magnificent woman. Eleanor Roosevelt combined her caring and compassionate heart, achieved through years of quiet suffering, and her brilliant intellect to be a woman for all people for all time. A very dense book with tiny font, at times it delved so deeply into the minutia of 1930s & 40s politics that I would break from it to read other books. That said, it's some of the most worthwhile reading I've ever done. This world could use another Eleanor to grace ...more
Mar 25, 2017 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not finish this book. I have read many books on the fascinating and amazing Eleanor Roosevelt. This is by far the driest and most boring. Written by her trusted assistant, it seems he just went through her letters and other correspondence and put them in chronological order. A painful read that I just could not finish.
Aug 08, 2013 Jean rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in the early 70s when I was your typical 20+-year old idealist and not political savvy. What I took away from the book was Eleanor's fight for equal rights for the black race and Franklin staying in the background because of the southern Democrats. Fast forward to now: I'm no longer the idealist. Because I'm older now, I found it so interesting to discover that the political fight back then very much parallels the arguments still used today. I still admire her but because ...more
Having read a lot of books on ER it's hard to rate them because so much is just a repeat of what's already known. This is a skimmed over view of her life (which seems crazy for how long it is) from family history to the death of FDR. It's a bit strange because there's a lot of R family set up info and then nothing about ER post FDR. I know the author had a personal relationship with ER but this lacks any emotion or intimate details - which closely reflects ERs own memoirs. Also because of the au ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eleanor Roosevelt was a mystery to me before this book--I just knew she was a go-getter first lady who helped shape our country. I didn't know she was Theodore Roosevelt's niece (she is Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt), she married her 2nd cousin, she was an orphan, she had a very difficult childhood, she was an insecure child, young bride and mother, she was bullied by her mother-in-law, and Franklin wasn't the ideal husband and she had absolutely no desire to be in the spotlight. Yet, through it a ...more
May 25, 2009 Sus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sus by: dad
HOORAY! I FOUND THIS BOOK under the seat of my car! It wasn't even my children's fault! (Ahem.)


July 21, 2009 Update:
Book MISSING! I mean, where does a book go? I haven't seen it for weeks, nay, months! and would really like to get beyond the first chapter on this one... at this rate I may never never know anything about the Roosevelts.


I can't seem to make it through a book lately. Either the story is weak or the writing is... or maybe it's just me. So my dad being my dad trotted up to his
Sep 24, 2008 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this "double" biography also a couple years ago. It is a very detailed and fascinating look into the lives of two of America's most famous/controversial people. The author does a good job of weaving the two stories together. The thing I found the most FASCINATING was both Roosevelts' initial admiration for Josef Stalin and the way they were so enamored with the whole Communist ideal. Many of the government programs that both promoted during their time in the White House were reflections ...more
Aug 05, 2010 David is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
More of an exhaustive history than an interpretive biography, it is nonetheless worth the effort. I picked it up to prepare for an upcoming weekend in Hyde Park, and the length - 900 pages in paperback! - means that I'll still be reading when I return. There's so much fascinating detail here about two figures so towering that it pulls you through the mechanical pace and academic tone. Still, I feel the same way I did when I somehow managed to outlast Robert Caro in the Power Broker: it's a pity ...more
Oct 05, 2012 Ann rated it liked it
I read the first 200 pages or so, which gave a very detailed account of Eleanor's early life, including how she and Franklin fell in love (and yes, it was love!)

Eleanor was an amazing force, who triumphed over a miserable childhood and disappointing marriage to achieve great things. She is definitely worth reading about.

This particular book is based largely on correspondence. There are too many long quotes from letters for my taste, although I might continue with the book at some point. The par
Mar 20, 2014 Luke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I learned so much reading this book! The author does a great job of bouncing around between history, politics, ethics, and common human experiences. You are left with a sense of awe at the person portrayed as Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a woman of incredible energy and conviction, and definitely had much to do with the success of her husband. And though the author was a personal friend of Mrs. Roosevelt, he still paints a realistic picture of her strengths and weaknesses as a person in this well- ...more
Janet Lira
Jul 23, 2011 Janet Lira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I give it three stars because it is very long and sort of confusing/complex. I wish it would have talked more about what happened after FDR died, but then again it was more on Eleanor and Franklin, so I can understand. It was a pretty good book and cholk full of facts.

I actually didn't read the whole thing- I decided it was too long, so I skimmed through it. I think I'll re-check it out and actually read it. Its gotten pretty good reviews.
Susan Albert
Revealing, intimate biography that places ER in the context of her marriage, written by a close friend. Pays detailed attention to phases of ER's life up to FDR's death, but slights important friendships, such as Dickerman/Cook, Miller, Hickok (published before the Hickok correspondence was unsealed). While ER dominates, this Pulitzer-winning biography is a balanced, weighty look at a power couple in a political marriage.
Dec 17, 2008 RunRachelRun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies, politics
My copy of "Eleanor & Franklin" is much better looking than this thumbnail. I say that because I admit that I have not bought books because the cover art was so repelling. I wouldn't have bought this book if it looked like the thumbnail. That said, if you come across this book, swallow hard and buy it. It's wonderful.
Aug 24, 2016 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is exactly the way I like to read history-- lots and lots of personal detail, quotes, correspondence and journals: you really get to enter into these lives. Eleanor and Franklin were two remarkable individuals and Lash does them both justice.

The amount of beneficent activity Eleanor could perform in a day-- and do well-- is just stunning. A genuine heroine.
Jun 01, 2009 Graceann marked it as unfinished-books
Shelves: biography
I hated to have to give up on this book. Joseph Lash's research is beyond reproach and he's a good writer. It's just not in a style that I am able to read, and I'm finding myself seeking any other thing to do rather than sink into it. It's a good book if you're the right reader for it; sadly I'm not the right reader.
Mar 12, 2016 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The story of their relationship, based on Eleanor Roosevelt's private papers. A woman who was a majestic figure of her time. The chronicle of a woman and a marriage. A masterpiece of vivid evocation and sympathetic understanding.
Donna Ledington
Oct 31, 2016 Donna Ledington rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Eleanor and Franklin back in the late 70's when I was going through a phase of reading biographies.. Their experience of being on Campobello Island when Franklin was stricken with polio was brought to life a few years after I read this when I was able to visit the Roosevelt home there.
Sep 30, 2014 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this one a long time ago (in the 70s or 80s, I think, and had forgotten about it until I saw the recent Ken Burns show on the Roosevelts, with an interview with Mrs Lash. I loved this book--it was an interesting look inside the lives of two extremely complicated and amazing people.
Jan 15, 2011 Millicent is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
a 700 page tome that i look forward taking to bed every night. the details are so delightful.
Own 1st edition, showing SBN 393 07459 5, library of congress catalog card no. 72-162667.
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Joseph Paul Lash (1909–1987) was secretary and confidant to Eleanor Roosevelt and the author of numerous acclaimed books.
More about Joseph P. Lash...

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“Anyone who thinks must think of the next war as they would of suicide.” 39 likes
“Helene Huntington Smith, “Profile,” New Yorker, April 5, 1930.” 0 likes
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