on December 21, 2000
Youngs's biography is an average attempt to describe this great woman's life and I do not mean "average" in a derogatory sense. This book hits all the main points of Eleanor's life and accomplishments from before her birth up to her death. It remains objective throughout most of the book but Youngs does not bring any enthusiasm to the womans life. The few times when Youngs voice seems to be asserting itself, it is to criticize Eleanor. One example is when Youngs insinuates that Eleanor's work in the NYC skids was just a rich girl trying to slum. Youngs made it seem like Eleanor never cared about the poor because she could never truly know them. He may have a point, but he did not use that same emotion when he was describing Eleanor's work as First Lady during the Great Depression. I would have liked to seen a little more energy from Youngs but I cannot complain about the information in his book. For those of you wanting a good, fairly objective, overview of Eleanor's life, Youngs book is just for you. For those who like their biographer to throw their two cents into the book you might want to look elsewhere.
on March 18, 2002
While the language isn't boring the the ideas are great in Youngs second edition of this biography, I am not happy at all that my students have been assigned this book to read in a linked course. I teach a study and learning skills course linked to an American history course at a university in the USA and this biography must be read by the students. With all the time spent in the colleges and universities and now in the media about how historians need to cite their sources, this biography is a sad and sorry example. Nothing is cited, even the direct quotes have no citations! Yes, Youngs does discuss his sources at the end of the book but that is not the same as giving credit to the sources where he drew his quotations and facts from. The publisher, Longman, should be ashamed for allowing such poorly cited scholarship to be printed for used in either courses or the general public. I would have given this 1 star but the writing is engaging.