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The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,012 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Eleanor Roosevelt's life (1884–1962) was full of experience & courageous action. Niece of Theodore Roosevelt, she married a distant relative & Columbia U. law student, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He gradually ascended the world of NY politics to become president in 1932. During his terms, Eleanor wasn't only intimately involved in FDR’s personal & political life ...more
Hardcover, 1st, 475 pages
Published 1961 by Harper & Brothers, Publishers (NYC) (first published November 30th 1960)
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This book is a collection of several volumes originally sold separately. Portions of these have been abridged and additional information has been added. All alterations were done by the author herself, in an effort to improve the content. Thus the book is split up into different sections, each having a specific theme. I liked some sections and disliked others.

The first part is about her childhood and familial relationships. This part was excellent. You see how Eleanor develops from an insecure a
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
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
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
Lene Jaqua
Eleanor's story is well written, but written at a distance. She is a woman of strong convictions, first puritan-like, later more liberal but the same rigid exterior. What I struggled with in this biography is I felt we never got to HER. She was always supportive of Franklin (nice wife) and it was all about his causes.

A particular thing that stood out to me was the birth of her first daughter and her first son. Daughter came first. She wrote something akin to, I gave birth to a daughter and we n
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
I'm truly surprised at how interesting and well written this book is; almost a page turner. (Of course not by today's standards.) As with most of us today, we only know Eleanor as an historical figure and a President's wife, but after the PBS series I really wanted to get to know more her as a person. So far her book has not disappointed me.
Also very surprised that she was orphaned at 10 yrs old and raised by her very strict Grandmother. Although she went to a boarding school in England and spo
After watching the wonderful Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts, I wanted to know more about them, and this is where I began. This is no tell-all. Not a mention of FDR's affairs, and hardly any detail about Mrs Roosevelts relationships with her intimates. But it's a very interesting and inspiring read, and Mrs Roosevelt's opinions and beliefs are well ahead of their time. I found the latter part of the book the most interesting, but the whole is well worth reading.
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.
Jo Ann
Whew! I think I have a lot of energy - but this woman would run circles around most of us! Her schedules of travel, entertaining, visiting, heading committees, being the "feet and eyes" of her husband for many years after his confinement in a wheelchair, is mind-boggling! Eleanor is very frank, very real, very thorough in her sharing about her life and, except for her husband's affair/s. Reading between the lines, however, one can see that she became her own person, the dedicated ...more
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
May 02, 2010 ~mad rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Amazing Woman, a friend I've discovered

I remember the Roosevelt Presidency. Franklin was my hero. Everyone knew of Eleanor but reading this book makes her dear to my heart. I feel I know her as a friend. She was articulate, caring and gave of herself to causes to help refugees and the under privileged in the world. She raised a family and was a great help to her husband. No criticism of him was spoken. She did not speak of his infidelity which must have been devastating! If you want to learn a l
Sarah Zander
Really interesting but really long! I can't believe I made it through!
This was an interesting book and a little disappointing as well.
The first of the book was great, but the last quarter just dragged on and on.
First - I enjoyed learning more about her childhood and early life. Her marriage, children, white house, etc. She was a very compassionate woman, however she had much and didn’t seem to really know it in many ways. Complaining that her sons were expected to earn their own living after finishing college? What is that about? I found that the way they deal
Ann Aldrich
A very circumspect autobiography, unlike something that would be written today. Although she shares some insights from her childhood, she always keeps the reader at a distance. She is consistently noncommittal about her mother-in-law, which was probably considered polite at the time, but rings a bit false today, given how much is known about the reality of the relationship. Her work schedule was overwhelming. i lost track of how many times she flew back and forth across the Atlantic or how many ...more
I've always admired Eleanor Roosevelt and after finishing this book, I think I idolize her. Her legacy with the United Nations and her tireless work for human rights and dignity are as strong as her husband's legacy with the New Deal. She decried America's apathy toward democracy and worried that if we didn't foster and cultivate it, we couldn't protect it either. What a great president she would have made. She was committed to her role as public servant and worried that democracy had been overt ...more
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!
Eleanor reserved the right in the beginning of the book to tell us only what she felt we needed to know; what would be common to us and our lives. So she wrote a dignified autobiography, without fanning the flames of rumor and innuendo. We learned of her marriage, her children, her call to duty, her desire to be part of the world and to help to guide our democracy. Some who write her biography, tell of her dislike of her mother-in-law. Eleanor tells how she wrote a letter to Sara every day. Havi ...more
A fascinating look into Eleanor Roosevelt's life. This book, a few of her memoirs combined with some other writings, was published within her lifetime, and as a fairly private person with a Victorian mindset, she obviously kept a lot of information out of it. You won't find anything in here about her world shattering when she discovered Franklin's infidelity. However, Eleanor does provide a striking, unflinching look at herself, and she doesn't hesitate to mention her own deficits. Her strength, ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
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
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
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Eleanor Roosevelt Biography 4 10 Apr 11, 2014 03:54AM  
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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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