Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

Eleanor Roosevelt, Author, Roger Streitmatter, Author, Rodger Streitmatter, Editor Free Press $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-684-84928-7
Having fought her way to the top of the news room, AP reporter Lorena Hickok refused to write women's page pieces on Eleanor Roosevelt when she was assigned to cover FDR's campaign for governor of New York in 1928. By the time FDR ran for president, his wife had become one of his most trusted political advisers, and it was inevitable that she and Hickok (""Hick"") would meet. Their fascinating correspondence is a testimonial not only to a passionate (and at one time undoubtedly physical) relationship, but to both women's remarkable intelligence and humanity. Eleanor's letters record much: her daily routine; her role as mother; her love for Hick; and her unabashed views on politics, racism, poverty, war and women's roles. Eleanor redefined the role of first lady from model housewife to political adviser and, with Hick's help, she wrote articles and eventually her own syndicated column. For her part, Hick, fearing conflict of interest, gave up her job at AP and took a position in the Roosevelt administration as a relief investigator. But she missed reporting, and the long hours of travel also undermined her confidence in her relationship with Eleanor. The letters speak of botched attempts at privacy, disrupted plans and endless apologies from Eleanor, but their relationship endured, evolving from one of lovers to one of devoted friends. The editorial comments are minimal (mostly constrained to prologue, epilogue and notes highlighting the fairly obvious passages indicating a physical relationship). Still, on its own this collection provides not only a heart-wrenching and personal look at a friendship but also a unique view of a turbulent time in American history. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-684-86766-3
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