Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II” as Want to Read:
No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  43,198 ratings  ·  1,479 reviews
Winner of the Pulitzer for History, No Ordinary Time is a chronicle of one of the most vibrant & revolutionary periods in US history. With an extraordinary collection of details, Goodwin weaves together a number of story lines—the Roosevelt’s marriage & partnership, Eleanor’s life as First Lady, & FDR’s White House & its impact on America as well as on a world at war. Good ...more
Paperback, First Touchstone Edition, 633 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Simon & Schuster (first published September 1st 1994)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about No Ordinary Time, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Joy Baas At first I thought it was a horrible betrayal of her mother, but then I remembered how Eleanor tolerated and even encouraged his relationship with Mi…more At first I thought it was a horrible betrayal of her mother, but then I remembered how Eleanor tolerated and even encouraged his relationship with Missy because she was able to calm him and provide the companionship that Eleanor couldn't. Anna was simply doing the same thing. It was FDR who had betrayed Eleanor by resuming this relationship that he'd sworn to end. So, to answer the question, I think I would also have allowed my father that measure of comfort.
As for whether it was honorable, only FDR would know. Did he provide reciprocal companionship to a grieving, widowed, friend, or did she stroke his ego - and maybe other things. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  43,198 ratings  ·  1,479 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
“The first thing Eleanor [Roosevelt] noticed when she went into her husband’s study was his ‘deadly calm’ composure. While his aides and Cabinet members were running in and out in a state of excitement, panic, and irritation, [Franklin D. Roosevelt] was sitting quietly at his desk, absorbing the news from Hawaii as it continued to flow in – ‘each report more terrible than the last.’ Though he looked strained and tired, Eleanor observed, ‘he was completely calm. His reaction to any event was alwa ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II" was published in 1994 and won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1995. Goodwin is an author and presidential historian who has written about Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, LBJ, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

This 636 page book is meticulously researched, fact-filled and essentially a hybrid literary construct: it is part history text and pa
Graham Shelby
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Markus Molina
Oct 03, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Susan O
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
No Ordinary Time is a unique blend of biography and WWII history from the US perspective. Many biographies have been written about both Eleanor and Franklin, so as in Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit, Goodwin chose to take a different approach. She does an excellent job and pulls it off beautifully.

The book covers primarily the years 1941 through 1945, the time that the United States is involved in WWII. However, she gives sufficient background information on both FDR and ER as well as the l
I have been trying to clear my wish list of some books that have been there since the beginning of the year. A number on the list including this one I have kept postponing reading because they are so long. This book is about 40 hours.

Goodwin sets out to tell the history of 1940 to 1945 through the lives of the Roosevelt’s and those who occupied the White House with them at a time when that building functioned more as a dormitory for famous personages than the President’s official residence. Gu
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, meticulously researched, well written, and unforgettable, it’s no wonder No Ordinary Time won the Pulitzer Prize for history, the Harold Washington Literary Award, the New England Bookseller Association Award, the Ambassador Book Award, and The Washington Monthly Political Book Award!

This remarkable book provides a close up account of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s years in the White House from 1940 to 1945. They were an extraordinary team. Franklin was an outstanding leader duri
Joseph Sciuto
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front In World War II" is no ordinary book. In fact, it is great... And to drive the point, even further, let me repeat that it is GREAT.

Mrs. Goodwin is an American treasure, her contributions as a historian are extraordinary. Whether she is dissecting Lincoln's Presidency in "Team of Rivals" or Teddy Roosevelt's friendship and rivalry with President Taft in "The Bully Pulpit" or her heartwarming tribute to baseba
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books you mourn the ending of. What a phenomenal read. This book is both a biographical look at Franklin and Eleanor's relationship and history framed by the unique marriage that was the Roosevelts.

It was fascinating to delve a bit deeper in Franklin's handling of WWII, his manipulating of politics by waiting for the right timing in public opinion, his relationship with Churchill, building the United Nations, and the far reaching effects of the Yalta Conference. People will
Carole Sorensen
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing personal look into the Roosevelt’s before and during a difficult time in our history. I cannot believe the research that went into this book .
Susan in NC
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book about the Roosevelts and the American homefront in WWII for the Book for All Seasons challenge to read a book about a tragic event. I listened to the audiobook while reading along with my own paperback copy of the book.

Since this massive, brilliantly written Pulitzer Prize-winning history covers the entire period of America’s time in World War II, it covers a huge amount of ground. Rather than trying to write a comprehensive, lengthy review, I’ll point out some of the things I
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, very well researched and written account of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in the years leading up to WWII and follows through to their deaths. Goodwin concentrates on life in the US during these years, touching on subjects like civil rights, Japanese internment, worker's rights, and women in the workplace. While the book was dense, it was very readable. It was exhaustive and entertaining. It is also a very raw and personal look into the personal lives of the Roosevelts. Franklin w ...more
Diane S ☔
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019, 5000-2019
Thoughts soon.
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
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
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Clif Hostetler
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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
Excellent history of the Home Front during WWII. And an excellent story of the Roosevelts.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Goodwin has to be the best non-fiction writer I have ever read. This is the second book I have listened to of hers, and I am in awe of her talent for writing and telling a story. She takes subjects that have been written about thousands of times, and makes them gripping and new.

In this book, Goodwin focuses on the American home front during WWII and some of the most visible, unique personalities who shaped the times, including, of course, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. Through her words, the reader
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Randy Endemann
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was so well writen. Goodwin is a good historian and would mix the personal lives of the Roosevelts with the political atmosphere of the times. I was just one year old when it started and six years old when it ended but because my father was in the navy from 1942 to 1945 I do have memories of the time. I lived with my fraternal grandparents and remember listening to the radio with my grandfather when the President died. A friend lent the book to me. When I was just about a third of the ...more
Doreen Petersen
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii, history
What a magificent book! Kudos to the author. Extremely well-written. Absolutely loved it and would recomend it to all.
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
SPOILERS? - well maybe. I do present ideas and questions that arise in my mind as I learn about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and the Home Front in WW2

I totally loved this book. It was amazing!!! Tell me, how often do you read a history book that brings tears to your eyes when the main character dies? And here you have more than just one main character. You cannot help but fall in love with both Franklin and Eleanor. Their relationship is extraordinry. It feel so real b/c it is filled with good
2018 Read Harder Challenge: A book with a cover you hate. OK, this is a total cop-out. I have nothing against this cover, but it's a way to get credit for finishing this HUGE book which took up a couple months in early 2018. :)

This was a long book, but engrossing, and spurred me to also watch the entire Ken Burns FDR documentary, which provided some nice visuals and audio to go with the book. I wish I'd noted more thoughts at the time, but I know I thought a lot differently about FDR as a human
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book a great deal as I’ve been fascinated with the Roosevelt’s for a long time. I recommend it. My only complaint is that it should have been longer. The author would be telling a delicious story about someone in their circle and just when it got good she would ... stop and move on to the next thing. This happened several times and it was quite frustrating, I kept thinking wait, stop, what happened then? Maybe she was being discreet? I don’t know but it drove be bats.
Graeme Newell
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
It is inspiring to find an author who can turn facts from history into a deep compelling story with complex characters and intricate details. Goodwin brings the drama to history and that is what I like about her work the most. She takes the time to research the small details that give these larger than life characters depth and character. I feel like I know FDR and understand the character flaws, personal strengths, and ego that molded his entire decision-making process.

I am also fascinated with
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
History and political intrigue 6 53 Dec 13, 2018 01:55PM  
NonFiction Pulitzers: No Ordinary Time: Buddy Read 2017 148 31 Apr 22, 2017 09:31AM  
Stitchers Book Club: April Stitchers gathering 1 4 Mar 27, 2015 01:34PM  
Stitchers Book Club: March Stitchers Book Club 4 30 Mar 09, 2015 01:48PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Eisenhower: Soldier and President
  • Truman
  • Means of Ascent
  • Theodore Rex
  • Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times
  • The Making of the President 1960
  • John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life
  • Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America
  • Colonel Roosevelt
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
  • John Adams
  • Grant
  • Master of the Senate
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson
  • Parting the Waters: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement 1954-63
  • James Madison: A Biography
  • A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House
See similar books…
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN’s interest in leadership began more than half a century ago as a professor at Harvard. Her experiences working for LBJ in the White House and later assisting him on his memoirs led to her bestselling "Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream." She followed up with the Pulitzer Prize–winning "No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II." She earn ...more

Articles featuring this book

In Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, she draws upon...
91 likes · 53 comments
“We do not have to become heroes overnight,” Eleanor once wrote. “Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.” 12 likes
“They are not dead who live in lives they leave behind. In those whom they have blessed they live a life again.” 7 likes
More quotes…