Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962

Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962

by Blanche Wiesen Cook


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One of the New York Times's 100 Notable Books of 2016
One of NPR's 10 Best Books of 2016

"Heartachingly relevant...the Eleanor Roosevelt who inhabits these meticulously crafted pages transcends both first-lady history and the marriage around which Roosevelt scholarship has traditionally pivoted." — The Wall Street Journal

The final volume in the definitive biography of America's greatest first lady.

 “Monumental and inspirational…Cook skillfully narrates the epic history of the war years… [a] grand biography.” — The New York Times Book Review

Historians, politicians, critics, and readers everywhere have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook’s biography of Eleanor Roosevelt as the essential portrait of a woman who towers over the twentieth century. The third and final volume takes us through World War II, FDR’s death, the founding of the UN, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s death in 1962. It follows the arc of war and the evolution of a marriage, as the first lady realized the cost of maintaining her principles even as the country and her husband were not prepared to adopt them. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to struggle for her core issues—economic security, New Deal reforms, racial equality, and rescue—when they were sidelined by FDR while he marshaled the country through war. The chasm between Eleanor and Franklin grew, and the strains on their relationship were as political as they were personal. She also had to negotiate the fractures in the close circle of influential women around her at Val-Kill, but through it she gained confidence in her own vision, even when forced to amend her agenda when her beliefs clashed with government policies on such issues as neutrality, refugees, and eventually the threat of communism. These years—the war years—made Eleanor Roosevelt the woman she became: leader, visionary, guiding light. FDR’s death in 1945 changed her world, but she was far from finished, returning to the spotlight as a crucial player in the founding of the United Nations.

This is a sympathetic but unblinking portrait of a marriage and of a woman whose passion and commitment has inspired generations of Americans to seek a decent future for all people. Modest and self-deprecating, a moral force in a turbulent world, Eleanor Roosevelt was unique.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143109624
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Pages: 688
Sales rank: 101,651
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Blanche Wiesen Cook is a distinguished professor of history at John Jay College and Graduate Center, City University of New York. In addition to her biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, her other books include The Declassified Eisenhower and Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution. She was featured on air in Ken Burns’s recent documentary, The Roosevelts.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: "Lady Great Heart" 1

Chapter 1 "We All Go Ahead Together, or We All Go Down Together" 17

Chapter 2 "You Cannot Just Sit and Talk About It, You Have to Do Something" 39

Chapter 3 Tea and Hot Dogs: The Royal Visit 58

Chapter 4 "We Must Think of the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number" 84

Chapter 5 "If They Perish, We Perish Sooner or Later" 113

Chapter 6 "We Have to Fight with Our Minds" 131

Chapter 7 Red Scare, Refugees, and Racism 155

Chapter 8 The Politician and the Agitator: New Beginnings 187

Chapter 9 Radical Youth and Refugees: Winter-Spring 1940 202

Chapter 10 "When You Go to War, You Cease to Solve the Problems of Peace": March-June 1940 227

Chapter 11 "If Democracy Is to Survive, It Must Be Because It Meets the Needs of the People" 255

Chapter 12 "The World Rightly Belongs to Those Who Really Care": The Convention of 1940 279

Chapter 13 War and The Moral Basis of Democracy 303

Chapter 14 "Defense Is Not a Matter of What You Get, Bur of What You Give" 320

Chapter 15 "Heroism Is Always a Thrilling Tiling": The Politics of Race 353

Chapter 16 "Isolationism Is Impossible": The Politics of Rescue 369

Chapter 17 "To Know Me Is a Terrible Thing": Friendship, Loyalties, and Alliances 405

Chapter 18 "Golden Footprints": A Permanent Bond in War and Peace 439

Chapter 19 "The White Heron of the One Flight": Travels in the Pacific and Beyond 479

Epilogue: ER's Legacy: Human Rights 543

List of Archives 571

Note on Sources and Selected Bibliography 573

Notes 587

Index 655

A Section of Photographs Follows Page 272

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