Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1933
Blanche Wiesen Cook
FTC disclosure: I bought. I read. I conquered.
If you’ve ever been curious about Eleanor Roosevelt (hereafter known as ER), read this book. Seriously. It’s probably the best biography that I’ve ever read (not that I’ve read a lot). In fact, in places it’s a real page turner. I know, hard to believe.
My only quibble is the book is a little disjointed after the marriage of FDR and ER. There are times where information is repeated, and other times when the chronological order totally falls apart, making things a little confusing. However, I can easily forgive, given all of the wonderful info the book contains.
This book is perfect for the Women Unbound Reading Challenge. ER is an awesome example of a political wife who refused to let politics, or society, or her husband dictate how she wanted to live her life (okay, it took awhile for her to get to this point, but she did get there). After giving birth to six children, submitting to a domineering mother-in-law, and then discovering her husband’s affair, ER finally took control of her own life. She pursued her own interests, made her own friends and eventually crafted a life almost completely independent from her family. And while she would never win any mother-of-the-year awards (for complicated reasons explained in the book), and her politics won’t appeal to everyone (although they do to me), she definitely stands as an example of a (largely self-) educated woman who unapologetically lived her own life. Go Eleanor.
Now that I’ve got you all excited, I should mention this is Volume 1. It ends in 1933, which means there’s a lotta ER’s life left to go. I’ve checked out Volume 2 from the library…I’m on to the presidential years.