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The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,436 ratings  ·  323 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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Chrissie
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
...more
Gina
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Mikey B.
New York 2018

Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site at Hyde Park, New York


This autobiography is interesting for what it contains and what is missing!

Many of Eleanor Roosevelts’ great friendships are barely mentioned – and some not at all (Lorena Hickok, Joseph P. Lash, Edna Gurewitsch). She does discuss her upbringing. She had neglectful parents and both died when she was very young. She skips over her father’s alcoholism and his frequent absences from her when he was placed in a sanitorium. As this au
...more
Jean
This book was originally published in 1946. I first read it in 1960 just after I attended a lecture by Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962). Over the years I have read everything I could get my hands on about Eleanor. I was reviewing some notes the other day and decided it was about time I reread “Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt” by Eleanor Roosevelt.

The book is well written but it must be taken in the age it was written, by a woman of the 19th century. The book is written in the reserve style of th
...more
Rachielle
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mike
This is one of those books I should have read a long time ago and I am not sure why I put it off. This was a nice read that covers the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. I loved the times she described her world view and how she described people she knew or came into contact with. I won't cover her biography here but she was active and involved in her community, country, and world for her entire adult life and into her senior years. I actually felt guilt reading this as I sit here in middle age and real ...more
Carol
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very inspiring book, Eleanor is a most inspiring woman. Have been a groupie of hers for many many years. Highly Recommend

Early life

Roosevelt as a small child, 1887
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884 at 56 West 37th Street in Manhattan, New York City, to socialites Anna Rebecca Hall and Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt from an early age she preferred to be called by her middle name, Eleanor. Through her father, she was a niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. Through her mother, she was a
...more
Andrea
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Marilyn
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting read. Autobiography's always have a different flavour than historical fiction or biography's, eg books by Doris Kearns Goodwin. One of the most interesting comments she makes is right in the preface" The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature to those of us who like to study people is that in fiction, the author can really tell the truth without hurting anyone and without humiliating him/or herself too much.......In an autobiography this is hard to ...more
Lene Jaqua
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
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
...more
Helen Louise
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mom
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing woman. I would review further but I don't appreciate comments from Goodreads librarians. ...more
Caroline
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
Eleanor Roosevelt was an incredible person and this book is proof. Her words are insightful and inspiring. It was alarming how many situations she was in that are so similar to the world today. I highly recommend this to any history buff, feminist, or fan of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Feisty Harriet
2.5 stars. I was really hoping for more....for more SOMETHING from this book. Perhaps my expectations were just too damn high? Eleanor Roosevelt has always reigned in my mind as a champion for women and for civil rights, and in reading a biography about her you definitely get that sense. However, in her own words, she skips over most of that and focuses on FDR instead. She talks about racism as "the social issue" or something and doesn't address it directly. She does talk about her work for the ...more
Nikki
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having watched Ken Burns series about the Roosevelts I was interested in learning more about Eleanor Roosevelt. I hoped to get an understanding about their very unconventional relationship of living almost separate lives but being devoted to one another, while cementing their place in history during his political career. I can't say that I have any better understanding of her devotion to Franklin to the extent that she appeared to form fond relationships with one or two of the other women in Fra ...more
Margie
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Yvonne
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I kept reminding myself this autobiography was written in 1961! An astute judge of character and remarkable powers of observation. At times hard to reconcile the young dilettante with the humanitarian and civil rights advocate she became. Oh how I would love to sit down over a cup of tea and learn from this incredible woman.
Kim Lee
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting but very much "of its time". Unlike today's culture people of Elanor's era did not talk about their feelings so while you get a very good picture of what she did, and some of what she thought you will not walk away with insights into what she felt after reading this. ...more
Greg
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
"This is intolerable. We cannot permit it to go on. Our political conventions, as they now function, are as obsolete as outmoded machinery," writes Eleanor Roosevelt in the early 1960s. Sound familiar? If you want to read a story about one of the hardest working women in American political history, this one's for you! ...more
Sushila
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aida
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has excerpts and a synopses from Ms. Roosevelt's earlier work; This is My Story, and continues where said book left off; through Mr. Roosevelt's presidency, their years in the White House, her role as his eyes and ears when he couldn't travel due to illness, her leadership in the development of the United Nations Dclaration of Human Rights Bill, up through her personal and political life in the early 1960's. While one gains insight into the development of Ms. Roosevelt's beliefs and pe ...more
Fadzai
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
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
~mad
Apr 15, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Lea
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
Toni
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Larry Bassett
Teas and travel

For the first half of this book we see Eleanor Roosevelt as the wife of FDR. In that roll she served a lot of tea to guests and took a backseat. I must admit I didn't find that too interesting.

The last half of the book after FDR died Eleanor did a lot of world travel and work with the UN. Her view of the world is well presented and fascinating at times.
...more
Kelsey McKim
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
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! ...more
Jen
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Eleanor was a very inspiring woman. The dynamic between herself and FDR was interesting. They sacrificed a lot for our country.
Joe Boenzi
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 2014 edition of "The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt", presented by her granddaughter Nancy Roosevelt Ireland, is what I consider an important work. The former first lady wrote and edited her autobiography over an extended period of time, reworking what had appeared in 3 volumes into one more compact account in 1958. This edition includes her earlier autobiography as well as autobiographical essays that she wrote in her final years -- the final one being written in 1961, after the inaugur ...more
Ana-maria Constantin
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This was a great and wholesome read.

First, I was inspired and impressed with Eleanor’s wisdom, kindness, and strength. I appreciated the clarity of her writing, and her eloquent prose. She was a human rights pioneer and a fierce advocate of women equality (long before it was cool). I think her voice helped set the foundation for the feminist movement further down the road. It was also interesting to learn about her early life, and to put that in perspective with how we live today, almost 100 yea
...more
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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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