The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
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The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  628 ratings  ·  82 reviews
The long and eventful life of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was full of rich experiences and courageous actions. The niece of Theodore Roosevelt, she married a distant relative and Columbia University law student named Franklin Delano Roosevelt; he gradually ascended throughout the world of New York politics to reach the U.S. presidency in 1932. Throughout his three terms,...more
Paperback, 454 pages
Published March 22nd 1992 by Da Capo Press (first published November 30th 1960)
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33rd out of 522 books — 190 voters
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Rachielle
Eleanor lived through very interesting phases of the country's history - World War I, World War II, the suffrage movement, and the Cold War to name a few. She played a significant part of her husband's presidency, being FDR's eyes, ears and legs, so to speak.

I read this book because it was used heavily as a source in Noelle Hancock's "A Year with Eleanor." Hancock was an entertainment blogger who got laid off. One day, she read a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, "Do one thing every day that scares...more
Andrea
I got into reading about past Presidents around the time of the inauguration and became very curious about Eleanor Roosevelt when reading about her husband. After reading this three-volume autobiography, I am no longer curious, but I have even more admiration.

If you're very curious about her childhood, then by all means read the first volume, but if not, read the wikipedia article for a summary and skip to the good stuff. The second volume covers her years in the White House and contains many o...more
Fadzai
Enjoyable read, and it was fascinating to observe how she responded to and was influenced by circumstances at different stages of her life. Given how widely quoted she is and the esteem she seems to be held in, I had assumed before reading this book that she had led a charmed life sheltered from the trials and tribulations faced by us mere mortals. Finding out that this was not the case was a pleasant surprise which made her all the more human and easy to relate to.

There were some things I woul...more
Gina
This is a very careful, guarded autobiography, written towards the end of Eleanor's life. And it was an extraordinary life, indeed. It is a challenge for anyone to write a candid autobiography, of course; there are people in everyone's life who deserve privacy and forgiveness and respect despite their failings. But it makes for a sterile book. There is nothing salacious here; no insight at all in to the experience of being married to a serial womanizer, for example, or even acknowledgement that...more
~mad
May 02, 2010 ~mad rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mailed to Jane
Recommended to ~mad by: one of CMC's books
This is one of my mother's books - she idealized Mrs Roosevelt - so I am looking for some insight. Having read 60+ pages, I see some resemblance already!

This quite a read. I learned more from this book thanI ever would have in a classroom - and I am not a history buff. But I have all of these books!

It dragged 'for me' at the end at the last convention Eleanor attended. Isn't that interesting - I found another time and another place much more fascinating than the time during the first 10 years of...more
Helen Louise
Remarkable woman, way ahead of her time. I so admire how she accomplished so much and made her own way at that very tough time in history. She served as a delegate for the first session of the U.N. in 1946! Traveled extensivly throughout the world for different causes, all to try and make the world a better place for the unfortunate.
Kelsey McKim
Eleanor Roosevelt's voice and personality really shine through! It feels like she's talking to you, not writing something formal. And it doesn't hurt that I agree with many of her views about war, democracy, and human rights!
Leslie
Jul 22, 2011 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs
Shelves: bio-memoirs
There are already enough reviews about this book so I will be brief. This is an autobiography of an American First Lady. Her writing style is very clear and polished. She is extremely diplomatic (almost the point of absurdity.) For example, I was several chapters in before realizing how awful her mother in law was. She wrote about her so objectively. It is rather like something DATA from Star Trek (an emotionless but lovable android) would write. However, I did find this very enjoyable and infor...more
Jessica
My first reaction when I completed this book was "Whew!" I felt like I had just completed a chore that I could check off my list. Truth be told, I didn't really read the last 3 chapters, but skimmed every third paragraph or so to see if she was saying something interested. Of course she wasn't.

This book is in 3 Parts, apparently each written at separate times and intended to be separate books. Word to the wise: read only one of them - whichever one piques your interest. I'll break it down for yo...more
Susan
This book is compilation of the three volumes ER wrote during different points in her life, and then briefly updated in the early 1960s. It was very interesting to see how her writing voice emerged, and that is probably why I stuck with this book even though it was boring at times to wade through some chapters. The first part of the book, "This is My Story", seemed like an old-fashioned history text with a lot of facts, names and places. It was very restrained, but at that time, ER's life was al...more
Susan from MD
This is a wonderful book, IMO. The first section focuses on her early years of childhood and marriage and the pre-White House years; the second on the White House years; the third part on her UN years; the fourth on her later-year thoughts. I have always admired ER, particularly when I was young; as a middle-age woman now - I still want to be ER when I grow up!

Her early years are interesting, as she had to face a lot of criticism - e.g., from her mother about her appearance (ER calls herself an...more
Connie
Eleanor Rosevelt condensed three volumns of earlier autobiographies, then added information to bring it up to 1960 and produce this book. She was a shy, intelligent child who later married Franklin D. Roosevelt who became President in 1932. She was a very active First Lady who volunteered for many organizations and wrote a newspaper column, while she also raised a family and entertained dignitaries. She later became a UN delegate and an activist in the Democratic party. Mrs Roosevelt had a fasci...more
Erin
I was shocked to meet the Eleanor in the first part of this book who was dutiful, obedient, and a woman who never gave any thought to whether she supported women's suffrage. In her words, "the ability to think for myself did not develop until I was well on in life and therefore no real personality developed in my early youth." How depressing...but it gives some hope to those of us about to hit that age at which Eleanor's life really started to get fired up.

The early part of the book also offers...more
Sushila
I had actually known very little about Eleanor Roosevelt before reading this book. It was wonderful to both learn about her and view the world through her eyes. She lived to be almost eighty and her life was never dull. One can only aspire to be a fraction as active as she. A biography of Eleanor Roosevelt is fascinating because you really get sense of how she developed as a person. It was a slow process for her and she didn't become the independent person we think of until well into her middle...more
Bekah
After reading a lot, then setting it down for a year or so- I picked it up last month and finished up last night! I really liked the last part the best. Honestly, Eleanor's best side seemed to come forth after her husband's death. Though I understand that if you are married to a highly political man (ie president for over a decade) that your life revolves around that but it was nice to see her have her own life after his death. Also, she says herself that she really learned to quit fearing doing...more
Alison Kenney
I'm excited about this...very timely given the upcoming election!

OK, I'm about half-way through now...I've discovered that Eleanor was a daily columnist. She wrote a column a day/six days week for many years. That's the problem with this book: she turns each event into a folksy "here's the deal" column. Meeting Kings and Queens or FDR's relationship with Churchill are all reported the same way - she finds one cute anecdote and focuses on that, and the book misses out on so much "meat" along the...more
heather van de  mark
I wouldn't say I agree with everything she says politically, but I certainly admire her activism and leadership. She was a fine woman who cared little for trivialities and as a result, she made a lot of good and a lot of change happen, completely in her own right, outside of her husband's or uncle's legacy. She seems a good role model for women--a vast improvement from the miley cyrus' and snookis of the world.

a few excerpts:

"...there must be something wrong with our civilization when our young...more
Carolyn Rector
Excellent book. Eleanor Roosevelt pared down her earlier memoirs into a smaller version, taking out less important things. But, she also adds to the earlier ones by updating the end of her life activities. I am amazed at her determination to do imortant work her whole life, especially her work with the young United Nations organization. That must have been had work!!!Never one to leave something important to someone else. We as a nation should be thankful for her contributions.
Elly Sands
Eleanor Roosevelt was a very prim and proper woman and so is her story telling. She seems almost stoic. But it must have taken a lot to move out of her sense of propriety and her protection of privacy to even write this book and I'm glad she did. She grew from a quiet, shy ugly duckling (her words) child into a courageous,intelligent,and worldly woman. She had boundless energy which she used not only to help her husband but to help the world. She is one of my heroes.
Sue
Eleanor Roosevelt has become one of my favorite historical figures. She was a shy child, who became a very traditional young woman interested only in raising her family and in being the best "society" wife that she could be. The woman that she became is quite a change from this. She became an outspoken advocate for women's rights, civil rights, the rights of the poor and disenfranchised as well as an advocate for world peace, with her work with the United Nations.

This autobiography is written a...more
Alicia
There were parts of this book that I loved and parts that made me want to throw it out the window. I kept having to remind myself that she still did all the amazing things that I love Eleanor Roosevelt for, but she did them stuck in the mindset of a early 20th century female "housewife" - husband, social niceties and family first. However, around the time that Franklin entered the White House, Eleanor kicked it into high gear. With the children gone and her husband immersed in a career that she...more
Bev
I have always admired Eleanor Roosevelt, not always agreed politically but felt she was wise. Found it a very uplifting and informative biography. Of course in an autobiography you only learn what the author wants you to learn but it tells what is important to her, what she worked so hard for. She admitted mistakes, she was always learning, always trying to improve. I thought being born rich she had it all. She was born a Roosevelt niece of Theodore Roosevelt who ‘gave her away’ at her wedding w...more
Pamela
This provided a lot of insight into the progressive thinking of this famous lady. She seems to be a prototype: she was raised in an age when women were meant to serve, yet she lived beyond that into an age in which women began to be heard. The book was great in revealing her concern for people of other countries. What was missing was much about her personal relationships. The sum total seems to be a very private person who was much more comfortable dealing with strangers, or at least that is the...more
Phyllis Fredericksen
Eleanor Roosevelt writes a wonderful book of her life....from girlhood to marriage to FDR to travels around the world on humanitarian missions. I enjoyed her tales and her wisdom. Doesn't deal with rumors, just her story. Would recommend highly.
Lea
Jul 16, 2012 Lea rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
I would have liked to hear more about Eleanor's early life and more her feelings about her experiences. It read like who's-who in society and politics throughout Eleanor's life and career. It did give good history of the US and an in-depth look at some experiences with world leaders and WWII. The end was a little long and drawn out, giving her opinions on current events, that are obviously no longer current, but it was insightful to hear her talking in her own words about her feelings on the sta...more
Stacy
I adore it. I adore her. If our lifetimes and social circles were concentric, we would be best friends. She says such witty and wise things and moves through life with struggle and strength. She does at times seem emotionally detached from the pains in her life and she even says that she doesn't take much time at all for introspection because she fears becoming self-centered. I disagree. She also seems ignorant of the fact that her last name, her husband, and her money afforded her a great many...more
Crystal
I am gearing up for a biography unit with my eighth graders, so I read this book that I picked up at Eleanor Roosevelt's home, Val-Kill, this summer.
I had read No Ordinary Time last year (or maybe the year before) and so it was interesting to view the same events through Eleanor's own eyes.
I was inspired and frustrated by her world views at the end of the final section, where she discusses the UN and the problems she sees for world peace. Her precient calling of the major issues and her opti...more
Sarah Meyer
This book is not flashy and fast, but it's interesting. I'm still in the early parts of the book, when ER is newly married, so I haven't gotten to the good global stuff yet. Thus far, I am just shocked at how many women in the 1910s and 20s occupied themselves by decorating their homes, caring for children while their husbands worked around the clock, and worried about organizing an army of maids and caterers to prepare the perfect social gathering. Years ago, I read A Personal History by Katari...more
Susan
Sep 25, 2007 Susan is currently reading it
My mom recommended this book. Like most of the books I read lately, I read a few pages before falling asleep each night. I think that Eleanor is witty, sensitive, and completely open to discussing how sheltered she was growing up, and how oblivious she was to the lifestyle of the poor. She traveled abroad, had lots of kids raised by nurses, and eventually opened her eyes to the plight of others. She is genuine, searching, incredibly smart, and a very, very good writer. Ok, I'm only on page 120,...more
Leah
I made it about halfway through this book, which is the abridged version of her three volume autobiography. I hoped to learn a lot about the author, but unfortunately her observations remain superficial and too polite to lend any insight. For example, her response to question about what she thought about her husband's polio was something along the lines of I didn't really think about it - it just was.

I also found the language of this book to be quite silted, a product of her time and class, I t...more
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Eleanor Roosevelt Biography 4 6 Apr 11, 2014 03:54AM  
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44566
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American political leader who used her influence as an active First Lady from 1933 to 1945 to promote the New Deal policies of her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as taking a prominent role as an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, she continued to be an internationally prominent author and speaker for the New Deal coalition...more
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You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life My Day: The Best of Eleanor Roosevelt's Acclaimed Newspaper Columns 1936-62 This I Remember This is My Story On My Own

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“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” 771 likes
“He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” 34 likes
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