Gina's Reviews > Eleanor and Franklin

Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph P. Lash
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Jun 04, 09

Read in June, 2009

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, super-revisionist book casting Eleanor as a 21st century feminist. It did feel a little old school, though, having been written in the 1970s, and I found myself curious about how more recent historians think about Eleanor and Franklin with a bit more hindsight and current perspective. A few things struck me as I read the book:

1. Many parts felt like todays front page news. I absolutely could not believe how almost verbatim Republican criticisms of New Deal policies are being repeated today.

2. There is something wonderful about the sense of womanhood Eleanor exemplified. To be so smart, gracious, determined, and accomplished, and yet have a gift for entertaining and homemaking and making guests feel welcome and cared for in your home is a lovely thing.

3. People thought the young people in the late 1930s where a bunch of lazy, immoral, good-for-nothings. As far as I can tell they became The Greatest Generation and pretty much saved western civilization. I think there is hope for us yet.

4. Both Eleanor and Franklin's lives have so many sad stories of unrequitted love.
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