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No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt - The Home Front in World War II

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  13,238 ratings  ·  764 reviews
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History, No Ordinary Time is a monumental work, a brilliantly conceived chronicle of one of the most vibrant and revolutionary periods in the history of the United States. With an extraordinary collection of details, Goodwin masterfully weaves together a striking number of story lines; Eleanor and Franklin's marriage and remarkable partners...more
Paperback, 759 pages
Published 1994 by Simon & Schuster
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Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time is an unusual World War II book. There are no descriptions of clashing armies, no in-depth armchair analyses of battlefield strategies, no biographical sketches of medal-bedecked generals moving their men like so many pawns. This is World War II as viewed from the American home front, and specifically through the eyes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

No Ordinary Time begins in 1940, as Nazi Germany invades France, Luxembourg, and the Low Countries (endin...more
Nov 08, 2009 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with interest in recent American history.
Recommended to Ed by: The History Book Club
A truly memorable book. Doris Kearns Goodwin is a fine writer who manages to transform seemingly insignificant snippets of data into compelling reading.

This volume covers the period from May, 1939 to April, 1945 and focuses on what was going on in the U.S. through the actions and writings of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and others close to them. It truly deserves its Pulitzer Prize and the four or more other awards and accolades it garnered.

I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable about the...more
I'm reminded of the saying, "If you want to learn something, read non-fiction." I am learning the answers to questions I didn't know I had. "Exactly how did the internment of the Japanese get started? When were land mines invented? What was Eleanor Roosevelt really like?" It was around this time that Executive Order 8802 came about, with the wording we are all so used to: discrimination is banned on grounds of "race, color, creed, or national origin." The national origin part was added because t...more
Through No Ordinary Time, I loved learning more about the U.S. home front during WWII and the impact FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt made on the nation as President and First Lady. WWII was such a catalytic time in our nation's history. When Hitler was invading much of Europe prior to U.S. engagement in the war, our military ranked 17th or 18th in the world as a result of an isolationist policy felt in Congress and throughout the nation. (Many Americans thought that the oceans dividing us from Europe...more
Randy Endemann
This is a marathon of a book that I found difficult to put down. Goodwin's depiction of the Roosevelt's during WWII takes on a very narrow timeline that unfolds week by week. Her knowledge of the subject becomes clear in her attention to detail. It is not nearly a chronological history, it is more of a personal portrait which explores the emotions, motivations, and fears of America's greatest president, and those around him.

History has afforded us perspective that the subjects of the book lacked...more
No Ordinary Time provides an intimate view of Franklin and Eleanor’s unique relationship, one more of a working partnership than a traditional marriage. Written in a somewhat gossipy style, at times resembling a society page column with its homey details, Goodwin digs deep into the character of the Roosevelt’s. Focusing on the rights of minorities, women and workers, she chronicles the dramatic social changes of the period.

Goodwin presents the attitudes and situations of people in 1940, which w...more
Clif Hostetler
It doesn't see that long ago that I read this. But I haven't found a review in my folder, so it must have been prior to my membership era. I was reminded of the book because it is the featured review on my PageADay Book Lover's Calendar for today. Below is the review from the calendar:
American heroes such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt can be so lionized that they cease to resemble living, fallible human beings. Doris Kearns Goodwin doesn’t make that mistake...more
Mary Etta
By "Team of Rivals" author, Doris Kearns Goodwin. This was a book-on-tape read begun when driving south to St. George before Easter.

Set in a time of my childhood it enhanced memories of ration books, victory gardens, fighter planes overhead, blackouts, my mother knitting socks for soldiers, FDR and Eleanor. While listening to the last chapter I decided to go online and pull up photos of Eleanor whose image in my mind had been one of a tall, rather unattractive woman. Seeing the beautiful photos...more
Graham Shelby
I took a long time reading this book because it was like time travel, like seeing into the past. NO ORDINARY TIME is a marvelously researched and rendered account of perhaps the most important and influential marriage in American history. Franklin and Eleanor's relationship is fascinating, so complicated and extraordinary, and yet so human, and in its own way, familiar.

Eleanor, to her eternal credit and the benefit of our country, was a tireless champion for women and African-Americans and the...more
I have never been a big history buff. Growing up I thought my lack of interest was because history is about learning dates and facts and I was more interested in understanding the relationships between things and why they are the way they are. A great professor in college showed me that history can be fascinating if approached with a view of understanding the relationships that caused events to unfold the way they did. I now enjoy history when presented in this way.

I started to read Goodwin's Te...more
I love this book. I'm fascinated by the changing social attitudes and conditions during World War II in the United States. I'm also captivated by the personalities of both Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor and so I was a happy camper while reading this book. It is a detailed examination of the marriage of Franklin and Eleanor and their ability to overcome emotional distance to create a unique partnership. Both realized that the United States could not emerge from the war if it was a unifie...more
Markus Molina
Remind me to never read a book this big in the middle of a busy school semester!

Throughout the book, I found myself slightly disappointed by FDR. He isn't lovable or heroic and there are times that I really question his integrity, especially in his relationships and his resistance to stepping down after his first two terms. So although the book is thorough and full of information and anecdotes, and although there are lots of things to point to that he did well, I find I cannot give it a higher r...more
Makes you wonder at times if Eleanor Roosevelt was more important and more insightful than FDR.
I loved this book. I purchased it after visiting the Roosevelt homes in Hyde Park, NY and had a really hard time putting it down. It's a LONG book so I read it for many weeks.

I thought I knew the history of the US pretty well but a lot of what I read startled me. I had no idea that racism was so pervasive in our culture then. I was struck by how the arguments that were used THEN to keep society segregated by race are so similar to the ones used today to discriminate against gays. Before the end...more
What it says on the tin – 800 pages on Eleanor and Franklin, personal and political, from 1940-1945. The thing that's good about it is the same thing that's frustrating: this is a book about their marriage, their friends, the war, race relations, the rise of organized labor, the new women's workforce, etc. etc. So it's wide-ranging and densely woven, but because it's so diverse, it occasionally lacks cohesion and true depth. Her Team of Rivals did better, there.

Also, I was quite put off by the h...more
Mark Vogt
This was actually my second reading of this book, having read it originally circa 2000. No Ordinary Time is an easy, enjoyable read for anybody in the Post World War II Generation. In part, the book chronicles the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents on the home front during the Second World War , leaving you with an understanding about the debt of gratitude we owe those remarkable people (not to mention those who actually fought the war). Regardless of your political bent, one instantly r...more
Seemingly hundreds of books have been written about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Books about Franklin, written from his point of view, can be critical of Eleanor – her tendency to nag, her seriousness, her lack of personality. Similarly, books about Eleanor, written from her point of view, can be critical of Franklin – his deceptions, arrogance, and self-centeredness. "No Ordinary Time, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II," written by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin,...more
This is one of the best American history books I've ever read. Doris Kearns Goodwin skillfully weaves together the personal and the political to bring light to the unique partnership of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. Though it appears they may have driven each other a little crazy, there was also a lot of love there - and sometimes people are brought together because they can use one another's skills to accomplish things important to both of them - and in this case, important to our country. The boo...more
Great book, way more interesting than it looks. This sat on my shelf for ever, and when I finally picked it up I was really glad I did. It's easy to feel a little WWII-ed out, you know? We figure we know everything about that because of all the movies and TV, but we really don't often get a close look at what was going on at home, in the white house. This provides some great context. Particularly good were the little moments she touches on, the ebb and flow of ER and FDR's relationship, and how...more
No Ordinary Time is so deserving of all the praise it's received, including the Pulitzer Prize. It's truly an enthralling read, bringing the Roosevelts and those surrounding them to life and painting an incredibly vivid portrait of the WWII years in the White House and in the country as a whole. The great, sweeping saga of that time in history is there, but so are myriad small, well-chosen details that make FDR and Eleanor real living, breathing human beings.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a fabulous wr...more
Sep 08, 2011 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Megan, Nathan
4.5 stars. This is a magnificent book. Kearns Goodwin uses FDR and Eleanor as conduits to tell the story of World War II's double fronts (from the American perspective): home and abroad. The quotes she seamlessly interweaves from letters and transcripts make the story read like a novel. The book gave me a much deeper appreciation of the upheaval the war took on the nation in more ways than I feel I learned in traditional history classes. I also gained an appreciation for learning about (yet agai...more
This book. I loved this book. Maybe its because I love Doris Kearns Goodwin (and even saw her out at a bar in MA once! Yes! True!) maybe its because I love Eleanor Roosevelt or maybe its because I love Franklin Roosevelt... or maybe its all three.

It is a time of war and turmoil, but its the age of innovation, the days the policies were created and great people were made great.

You can drink this book like water, it goes down so easy and thankfully its endless. More than it being a long book, it...more
I picked up this book in an attempt to make my reading a tad more scholarly than it has been as of late. I have to admit, I figured I would get about 50 pages in before putting it down and reaching for a different - and lighter - book, but to my surprise after turning the first page I didn't put it down until 100 pages later! Besides being very easy to read and follow, this book was exceptionally interesting and full of human-interest goodness. I adored learning more about Eleanor and FDR during...more
What a fascinating book. Goodwin writes nonfiction superbly and you can't help turning pages while the characters come to life. I felt like I knew not just Eleanor and Franklin, but people around them quite well by the time I finished. They were both rather odd with Eleanor seeming to have empathy toward everyone in the world except her family, and Franklin just having a good old time, forgetting that war was not a game. They weren't together that often, but when they were it must have been awfu...more
Dianna Rostad
A read from the DFW Literary Group. I learned so much about my own history from this book. The migration of my family from the ranches and farms into shipyards and government nuclear plants. Even my little radio, wrapped in leather. I used to listen to Kasey Kasem's top 40 on it never suspecting that it was wrapped in leather because of a shortage in materials needed to fight Hitler and send supplies to our allies overseas.

I told my mother she and my grandmother would love this book, but though...more
Matthew Bartlett
In my opinion, this is one of the best books if not the best book Doris Kearns Goodwin has ever written. After reading this book, Goodwin became one of my favorite historians. When I read the opening of this book, I literally felt I was walking beside President Roosevelt and Eleanor. This is a great read, informative and engaging. You will not want to put it down. You follow FDR from the end of his second term to his controversial running for a third term to entering WWII to his death. You learn...more
Susan Albert
Excellent biography, very readable. Provides more historical and social context than the other bios. Especially helpful in her coverage of ER's role as a political partner.
I love Doris Kearns Goodwin. This is by far the very best book (in my opinion) on what it was like to live here in The States during the Second World War. She describes the relationship between Franklin & Eleanor in human terms; their incredible political partnership existing within the tragedy of their lonely, asexual marriage, Eleanor's female attachments and Franklin's renewed relationship with Lucy Mercer. The descriptions of Winston Churchill's visits to the White House and his wanderin...more
I loved this book! I've read many, many nonfiction World War II books, but No Ordinary Time pulled back the curtain on life in and around the White House during those tumultuous years. Exhaustively researched and filled with the kind of anecdotes and details that make FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and so many others come alive, No Ordinary Time is that all-too-rare thing: a 600+ page long historical page turner that left me wanting more--although I can't imagine what else could be le...more
Nicole Salgado
At first I wasn't sure I'd make it through this 600+ page historical biography of the lives of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt during WWII... but the author's skill at drawing you in and making you feel totally privy to every last detail of their lives was remarkable. I learned so much and came to appreciate many aspects of the Roosevelts' influence on world history like never before. I knew that Eleanor had been an unparalleled first lady in fighting for universal human rights, but I never knew...more
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History and political intrigue 4 33 Feb 25, 2013 09:57PM  
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: Vol 2, The Defining Years, 1933-38
  • Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers
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  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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  • Master of the Senate (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, #3)
  • FDR
  • James Madison
  • Eisenhower: Soldier and President
  • Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years
  • John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life
  • The Age of Jackson
  • A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
  • Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
  • President Kennedy: Profile of Power
  • Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45
  • Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
  • An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
Also credited as "Doris Kearns" on the first editions of Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream.
More about Doris Kearns Goodwin...
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism Wait Till Next Year The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream: The Most Revealing Portrait of a President and Presidential Power Ever Written

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