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

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  34,043 Ratings  ·  1,176 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 wo ...more
Paperback, 759 pages
Published 1994 by Simon & Schuster (NY)
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Matt
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Ed
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
...more
Becky
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
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
...more
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
...more
Steve
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
https://bestpresidentialbios.com/2016...

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 an
...more
Susan O
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
...more
Nancy (NE)
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
...more
Amy
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
Teri
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
Dan
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
...more
Sherri
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
...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
...more
Max
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
...more
Katy
Excellent history of the Home Front during WWII. And an excellent story of the Roosevelts.
Lightreads
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
Judy
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
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 Goodreads.com folder, so it must have been prior to my Goodreads.com 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
Sherry
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
Suzanne
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Doreen Petersen
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, wwii
What a magificent book! Kudos to the author. Extremely well-written. Absolutely loved it and would recomend it to all.
Tamara
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I really knew/know nothing about the Roosevelt's, both as people and as political figures. This only a little bit scratched the surface for me, but I am now totally on the Eleanor Roosevelt bandwagon.
Mary Etta
Apr 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Melissa
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jim Gifford
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
I admire all of the research that must have been done to write this book, but for me that is not enough; the narrative, even of non-fiction books, must be compelling and this was not. I actually found much of the book to be laborious to read, boring, frankly, for significant stretches, and I never really developed a good feel for, or sense of, FDR. Also, Eleanor struck me as one-dimensional and not someone I would be interested in knowing. That being said, her rendering of Churchill and his frie ...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
Rachel
Jun 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
If you like getting your news from People Magazine, you will enjoy getting your history from this book. Filled with gossip and distracting tidbits that will make you forget all the greatness FDR and Eleanor Rossevelt accomplished.
Judee
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Makes you wonder at times if Eleanor Roosevelt was more important and more insightful than FDR.
Krenzel
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Noah Goats
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent biography of FDR, an excellent biography of Eleanore Roosevelt, and an excellent history of the home front in the United States during WWII. Deeply researched, well written, and imbued with solid judgement, it’s hard to imagine a better book covering the same subject matter.

I read this on kindle with whispersynch audio, and when I listened to the audiobook version I found myself a bit annoyed by the slooooooow reader. I boosted the reading speed up to 1.25, and that was sti
...more
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History and political intrigue 4 40 Feb 25, 2013 09:57PM  
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Also credited as "Doris Kearns" on the first editions of Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream.
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“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.” 4 likes
“They are not dead who live in lives they leave behind. In those whom they have blessed they live a life again.” 2 likes
More quotes…