No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II Paperback – Oct 1 1995
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A compelling chronicle of a nation and its leaders during the period when modern America was created. With an uncanny feel for detail and a novelist's grasp of drama and depth, Doris Kearns Goodwin brilliantly narrates the interrelationship between the inner workings of the Roosevelt White House and the destiny of the United States. Goodwin paints a comprehensive, intimate portrait that fills in a historical gap in the story of our nation under the Roosevelts.
From Publishers Weekly
Goodwin's account of the Roosevelt presidency during WWII highlights America's changing domestic front.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Although the book solely focuses on the Roosevelts during World War II with only passing mention to the New Deal and the Depression, the main body of the text is on the relationship between FDR and Eleanor and their concerted effort to win the war while bettering the American way of life at the same time. With Franklin, Goodwin examines his determination to beat fascism, both before the United States' involvement and after Germany declared war on the US. Key players such as Harry Hopkins, Henry Stimson, George Marshall, Winston Churchill and others make continual appearances in the book.
Looking at Eleanor, Goodwin concentrates on her work with the OCD and her persistence at improving civil rights and women's issues. Goodwin does not shy from entering family business, and writes at length about FDR and Eleanor's unconventional relationship, their troubles with their parents, children and in-laws and FDR's early-marriage affair. Goodwin even tackles the controversial topic of Eleanor's alleged alternative lifestyle in very good taste by not gossiping but delivering factual information without jumping to conclusions.
Missing from the book is any military view of the war so it helps to know some of the background of the WWII military theaters but is not necessary to still enjoy "No Ordinary Time.Read more ›
Anyone who wishes to get the feel for what it was like during this tumultuous time should buy this book, read it, and then read it again.
Many people of FDR's inner circle are profiled and narrated, including Lucy Mercer, the woman FDR fell in love with and nearly divorced Eleanor over; Missy LeHand, FDR's personal assistant whom many referred to as his "real" wife; as well as Ikes, Morgenthau, Stimson and most importantly, Harry Hopkins.
Goodwin also debunks some myths about the FDR presidency, both good and bad. Some World War II "Did You Know" tidbits covered:
1. Nearly 105,000 refugees from Nazism reached the U.S., more than any other country. Palestine was second with 55,000. No one disputes that the number should have been much, much higher, but today's attitudes would lead people to believe that we turned everyone away. Footnote - during FDR's presidency, only 3 percent of the population was Jewish - but 15 percent of his appointments were Jewish. Our greatest wartime president was no Anti-Semite.
2. The journey of the St. Louis. The author gives adequate attention to one of the great tragedies of the war, and an enormous stain on FDR's legacy.
3.Read more ›
There is a degree of nearly strident feminism in the writing, not quite what one would call shrill, but the author's sympathies seem to lean decidedly toward Mrs. Roosevelt, often based on issues of sexual inequality. To be fair, Ms. Kearns Goodwin is about as harsh in her handling of racial prejudice
and anti-semitism, both cases where FDR used Eleanor as a lightening rod.
What emerges is nonetheless what most sources reveal: he was the instinctive politician who happened to be in the right place at the right time to make magic happen while she was a tireless social activist more in tune with the masses than with any one person. He could bend his principles when needed (either for the greater good of the whole or on occasion for his own selfish indulgences) whereas she was quite rigid and nearly incapable of intimacy.
One can (or should) hardly judge them. It is enough to appreciate their complexity and their contrasts and to see how they played off one another so well. The real beauty of this book is that it allows us to do just that quite completely.
Bill and Hillary Clinton were not the first power couple in the White House. A strained marriage, infidelity, controversial social policies, a first lady who promoted her own agenda; this too describes Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Except that the Roosevelts were revolutionary compared to the Clintons.
The author devotes almost half her story to Eleanor, despite the fact that Franklin was one of the greatest presidents in US history. This is how much influence she held and how much work she took on. It is Eleanor who perhaps accomplished more domesticly. She lived in a time before the women's movement and equal rights for all citizens. While her husband took a middle political course, Eleanor championed social causes. The labour unions, black civil rights leaders, working mothers, Jewish refugees all were supported by the first lady. During the Second World War it was Eleanor who encouraged women to take the jobs left vacant by their men marching off to war. And when these working women had nobody to look after their children, Eleanor funded the first day care centres. Sadly, at the end of the war, most women lost their new found freedom and return home to look after the kids as the men returned from overseas.
This is a big book and some details of life in the White House could have been left out. However, Kearns Goodwin had a lot to draw on from this exceptional period of American history. The reader should just be patient and enjoy this close up the Roosevelts and the people around them during their time in office.
Most recent customer reviews
This account of the Roosevelts at the home front in the second world war is very detailed; Franklin comes across as an adept and at times devious politician who managed to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jerry George
Doris Kearns Goodwin really took her time and wrote one of the best books I have ever read. She talked about Franklin and Eleanore and their influence on each other, as well as... Read morePublished on April 1 2004 by Kathleen M. Malfi
FDR was the second worst president in U.S. history after Bill Clinton. He bankrupted the U.S. economy, he made us a socialist nation, and brainwashed us with filthy Soviet... Read morePublished on March 27 2004 by M. Rogan
This book is quite a feat. It is about the War Years and the Presidency of FDR. It shows how from a underdeveloped nation concerning a war machinery it started to produce more... Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2004 by M. Buisman
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