Eleanor

David Michaelis. Simon & Schuster, $35 (704p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9201-6
Biographer Michaelis (Schulz and Peanuts) presents a compulsively readable and exhaustively researched portrait of one of the most admired women of the 20th century. The model of the modern activist First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt lost both parents by the time she was 10 and bounced between relatives’ homes and boarding schools. She learned self-reliance and developed a curiosity about the world, according to Michaelis, but craved love. She thought she found it in her 1905 marriage to Franklin Roosevelt (a distant cousin), but gradually had to accept a political partnership in lieu of the romance of the soul she wanted. Propelled to exercise her intellect and fulfill her desire for public service, Roosevelt worked with the Red Cross, the League of Women Voters, the Democratic Party, and the United Nations. As First Lady, she earned money from “writing, speaking, broadcasting, and endorsing” (though she donated most of it to charities) and campaigned for civil rights. These and other activities brought her into contact with people who provided the love and intimacy Franklin couldn’t, including New York State Trooper Earl Miller, journalist Lorena Hickok, political activist (and future biographer) Joe Lash, and physician David Gurewitsch. Michaelis’s clear-eyed but sympathetic portrayal, enhanced by a crisp writing style, brings Roosevelt’s personality and achievements into sharp focus. This jam-packed biography is a must-read for 20th-century history buffs. Agent: Melanie Jackson. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/15/2020
Release date: 10/06/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1407-1
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