Grandmere: A Personal History of Eleanor Roosevelt [NOOK Book]


Until her death when he was 20, David B. Roosevelt enjoyed a close relationship with his grandmother Eleanor Roosevelt. Now David shares personal family stories and photographs that show Eleanor as she really was.
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Grandmere: A Personal History of Eleanor Roosevelt

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Until her death when he was 20, David B. Roosevelt enjoyed a close relationship with his grandmother Eleanor Roosevelt. Now David shares personal family stories and photographs that show Eleanor as she really was.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Millions knew Eleanor Roosevelt as a formidable public figure, but David Roosevelt knew her as a grandmother, his sweet and vibrant "grandmère." This biography, the first written by a family member, presents this first lady and renowned humanitarian as a passionate, vulnerable, and courageous woman who overcame a painful childhood to become a powerful spokesperson for numerous causes.
Publishers Weekly
"Grandmere stood at the center of my childhood, and many of my fondest memories return to that idyllic time, a time that was private and intimate and in which she was simply my grandmother." Roosevelt shares these warm recollections of his grandmother Eleanor in a fond biography of a strong and resilient woman and a sweet grandmother. He remembers the bustle and excitement around Eleanor when he spent holidays at her beloved home, Val-Kill, in New York's Hudson Valley. While he renders the generally well-known facts of Eleanor's life, it is the personal touches, drawing on his own memories and those of other family members, that distinguish this account, for instance, her confiding in the author's Aunt Anna that "like all women of [the late Victorian] era, she was taught that sex was an ordeal to be borne" and that sex had been for Eleanor "an extremely difficult part of married life." There is, however, not as much of this personal insight as one would hope for. The book's strength may be in the pictures from family collections. Overall, this is a touching, human-size account of a woman who seemed larger than life. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eleanor Roosevelt's grandson reprises the familiar events of her life. The author, who was 20 when Eleanor died in 1962, offers scanty but affectionate recollections of time spent with her, especially the summer vacations at Val-Kill. Built in the 1920s as a refuge where Eleanor could relax with her friends away from her domineering mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt, Val-Kill was "paradise" for David, his siblings, and their cousins. "There were few rules and even fewer schedules," and "Grandmère" was always a warm, attentive presence. The author notes that Eleanor had "an amazing facility for engaging even very small children in conversation. [She was] always encouraging me to tell her about myself, the things I was doing, and what interested me, no matter how young I was." As he recalls the history of the Roosevelts, David also describes his grandmother's lonely childhood and her close relationship with Teddy Roosevelt, whom she loved and admired, though politics soured staunchly Democratic Eleanor's relationship with the next generation of Republican Roosevelts. This estrangement, David notes, has ended; the two branches of the family now meet on a regular basis. Quotes from family letters and Eleanor's own writings document the high and low moments of her of life, including her beloved father's early death, her mother's coldness, her sense of betrayal when she discovered that FDR had conducted an affair with Lucy Mercer, her role in his administration, and her triumphant efforts to make her own life. Eleanor was bitterly hurt to learn that Lucy Mercer Rutherford was with the president when he died, and David suggests that for much of her life she had to fight depression. Hergreatest quality, he observes, was "the ability to be absolutely ordinary and in that simplicity to be most extraordinary." Mike Wallace's introduction recalls his 1957 TV interview with Mrs. Roosevelt. A loving tribute distinguished more by the many hitherto unseen family photographs than by the familiar memories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446550994
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/15/2008
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 586,617
  • File size: 12 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt


A Personal History of Eleanor Roosevelt
By David B. Roosevelt with Manuela Dunn-Mascetti

Warner Books

Copyright © 2002 David B. Roosevelt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0446527343

Chapter One


When we were children we used to collect pine cones and paint them with airplane paint and then put sparkly things on them ... She would burn them in the fireplace, and they made pretty colors when you burnt them. It was great! And she really just loved those things that children end up doing for you. It was the love that she loved coming from us.

-Nina Roosevelt

There are moments of childhood that lodge in our memories and sometimes linger there tenaciously for the rest of our lives. This or that instant, rather than a million others, sheds light and glows warmly years after the moment. I have many such vivid memories pervaded by the presence of Grandmère. Though photographs exist of me as a small child sitting on my grandfather's knee at the White House or at home in Texas, my earliest and most vivid memories are of holidays spent in unadulterated freedom at Grandmère's Val-Kill, her beloved home and retreat from a hectic life in upstate New York.

An intense feeling of anticipation marked the beginning of school holidays, when I would fly in the early days of American Airlines from my family's home in Fort Worth to New York, and then take the train up theHudson River Valley to Poughkeepsie, where I was met by my father and stepmother and, of course, Grandmère. In fact, as happens so often with small children, the sheer pitch of the excitement of being once more in the thrilling atmosphere of Grandmère's home surrounded by an onslaught of cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and the occasional famous visitor would at times be overwhelming. But the return to Grandmère's Val-Kill was the highlight of many holidays. Perhaps because I lived so far away with my mother, sister, and brother, the times spent with Grandmère were all the more special to me. For a small, ever-inquisitive child, the endless stream of activities and interesting people in her home made it the most absorbing, wonderful place imaginable.

Upon arriving at Val-Kill I would be swept up into the busy, adventurous atmosphere that surrounded Grandmère. My older brother, Tony (Elliott Jr.), and my sister, Chandler, had that same sense of Val-Kill. For us it was a time to be reunited with our father, who, after the divorce from my mother and subsequent remarriage, lived for a period at Top Cottage, just a short walk from Grandmère's through dense woods. But while that reunion was always a time anticipated, the real excitement lay just down the hill at Val-Kill.

For us children, Val-Kill was paradise. There were few rules and even fewer schedules, and we were left free to do practically whatever we wanted - riding horses across the open fields and through the woods, boating in the Fall-Kill Pond, carousing with cousins for endless hours, swimming in the pool, playing games or drawing on rainy days in the Playhouse. Grandmère was always attentive and warm, and we had the constant feeling that no matter what important person had come to see her or what her work demanded, her grandchildren always came first. She used to call me the "little cowboy" or "little Texas" because of my penchant for wearing cowboy boots and shorts, my favorite attire as a small child. And though I might have been a charming and engaging little boy, as some said, even then I was hardheaded and self-driven. Never one for napping in the afternoon like the other small children, I would spend hours playing outside and making up great adventures, and then I would tear through the house at great speeds to get to her bathroom (usually the closest to wherever I might be at the time of urgent discovery!), racing through the study where Grandmère might be quietly working with Tommy, or in later years Maureen Corr, or meeting with important people. It seems I always waited until the very last minute to make that urgent mad dash. She never scolded me or grew agitated in the least by the carryings on of her grandchildren, despite the fact that there were often many of us causing utter chaos. Of course, I'm certain even we could push the limits of her patience, but perhaps I have just forgotten those rare moments.

I think I must have been aware that Grandmère was an important person - surely I knew she was somehow special. But to me she was simply my grandmother, and I related to her in that warm, intimate way a small child does to someone who is consistently loving and attentive. She had an amazing facility for engaging even very small children in conversation. I remember her as always encouraging me to tell her about myself, the things I was doing, and what interested me, no matter how young I was. I could go on walks with her if I wanted to talk about something special, or she would often invite me to go with her to run errands in the village of Hyde Park. We would go to the post office or grocery shopping, and local people would always greet her with "Good morning, Mrs. R" or address her as "Mrs. Roosevelt." To my memory, only a few of her closest friends and family ever called Grandmère by her first name, Eleanor, perhaps out of deep respect. Minnewa Bell, my father's fourth wife, used to call her "Mother R," a salutation that many of her other daughters-in-law used as well.

Grandmère's Val-Kill was a very special place, not just to me but to practically everyone who visited there. I find it interesting today when I return to listen to the reactions of other visitors: "Why, it's so simple, so unimposing, not at all what I would have expected!" Yet others will remark on its serenity, and immediately understand how it could be so important to Grandmère. For me, it is merely a place of so many memories, so many wonderful times spent with my grandmother - nothing more, nothing less.


Excerpted from Grandmere by David B. Roosevelt with Manuela Dunn-Mascetti Copyright © 2002 by David B. Roosevelt
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

Foreword vi
Introduction vii
Preface x
With a Special Contribution by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands 1
Part 1
Grandmere 3
Part 2
Born in Another Era 27
Part 3
Franklin 69
A Very Close Partnership 90
Part 4
It's Up to the Women 125
First Lady 148
The War Years 169
Part 5
Strength, Courage, Confidence 191
A Legacy in Her Own Right 200
So Many Things to Do! 212
Campobello 218
Epilogue 232
Abridged Roosevelt Family Tree 238
Bibliographical References 240
Acknowledgments 242
Photo Credits 244
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2003


    I love everything and every pictures too. Thank you.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2011

    This Ebook is a terrible waste.

    This is a wonderful book that tells the story of the evolution of an insecure young woman into a politically adept and humanity minded powerhouse. Too bad the transcription to ebook was horrible. Not just a few typos, but entire words were missing. Also, you could not see the pictures, which are a very important part of the book. The author spent a great deal of time choosing those photos. I ended up renting it at the library to finish the last part. So sorry I wasted the money even if it was only $2.99. Grade=3 stars: 4 stars for the book itself and 1 star for the poor transcription.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012


    Grandmere is a charming, enlightening and lovely tribute to a most remarkable woman. My reluctance to give this e-book a higher rating has nothing to do with the content but rather to the unfortunate plethora of errors of spelling, punctuation and typesetting (or its electronic equivalent) which severely detracted from the pleasure of reading. Some of these mistakes, because of their repetition, are obviously due to a careless use of the spellcheck function. There is one blatant incident where a photo and the accompanying caption are in complete disagreement. This loving tribute to a unique grandmother was well worth reading but could have been so much more enjoyable if I didn't have to stop every 2-3 pages to try to figure out what word was missing, which one was actually meant or where a sentence actually ended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    This was a great biography to read about a great First Lady!

    The biography Grandmere was written from the perspective of one of her grandsons. It told the reader things about her life before she got married and things that happened while her husband was in the White House. The book made an impression on the reader because it showed her social problems, as well as how she always strived to help other people in her world, even as the wife of the most powerful man on Earth. I loved reading about a woman who was long gone from the White House before I was even born, but let me enjoy what her family could remember about her life. Even though she could have taken the easy road in life, Eleanor Roosevelt stood up for common people and their needs by letting Franklin Roosevelt know what she saw and witnessed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2011

    Good read, lousy proof-reader.

    I am disappointed that I paid $10 for a book that was so slopily proofed - very obvious typo's and formatting errors were everywhere. Where can I apply for a proofreading job for ebooks?! The pictures were interesting - if you could make out any of the faces which were mostly way too small to identify, and captions for the pictures were mixed in to the body of the text which made for confusing reading.

    BUT - the story was great. I found the similarities to present day politcs fascinating. I've always admired Eleanor Roosevelt, and this made her much more real. Wish I could have known her.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    I enjoyed it.

    In addition to this being a great biography this is a nice historical novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Not my favorite.

    Poorly written - must not have been proofread - so many mistakes! Written in a very hodge-podge manner.

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    Posted October 19, 2011

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    Posted September 16, 2011

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