Someone to Watch Over Me: A Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Tortured Father Who Shaped Her Life

Someone to Watch Over Me: A Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Tortured Father Who Shaped Her Life

by Eric Burns


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A fresh and sensitive examination of Eleanor Roosevelt—one of the most remarkable Americans in history—and the tortured father who would inspire and shape her future leadership and advocacy.
Eleanor Roosevelt is viewed as one of the most pioneering women in American history. But she was also one of the most enigmatic and lonely. Her loveless marriage with FDR was no secret, and she had a cold relationship with most of her family, as well, from her distant mother to her public rivalry with her cousin, Alice. Yet she was a warm person, beloved by friends, and her humanitarian work still influences the world today. But who shaped Eleanor? It was the most unlikely of figures: her father Elliott, a lost spirit with a bittersweet story.
Elliott was the brother of Theodore Roosevelt, and he was as winsome and charming as Theodore was blustery and competitive. Though the two maintained a healthy rivalry in their youth, Elliott would eventually succumb to alcoholism and would be exiled to the Virginia countryside. But he kept up a close correspondence with his daughter, Eleanor, who treasured his letters and would read them nightly for her entire life for guidance, inspiration, and love.
As he did in the critically acclaimed The Golden Lad, Eric Burns' insightful and lucid prose reveals new facets to the lives of these pillars of American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681773285
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Eric Burns is a former correspondent for NBC News and the TODAY Show. For ten years he was the host of the top-rated “Fox News Watch,” and he has won an Emmy for media criticism. He is the author of The Golden Lad: The Haunting Story of Quentin and Theodore Roosevelt,1920: The Year that Made the Decade Roar, a Kirkus "Best Book of the Year,"Infamous Scribblers,The Spirits of America, andThe Smoke of the Gods, and the latter two were named “Best of the Best” by the American Library Association. Eric lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

First Note to Readers: The Problems of the Story xvii

Prologue: Human Rights xxi

Part 1 1

Elliott 3

Anna 21

Courtship 33

Marriage 43

Part 2 55

Nell's Homeliness 57

Nell's Shyness 67

Nell's Fears 77

Nell's Loneliness 85

Nell's Coldness 95

Part 3 101

Second Note to Readers: The Center of the Mural 103

Father, 1873-89 107

Daughter, 1917-28 125

Father, 1890-92 141

Daughter, 1932-36 153

Father, 1891 169

Daughter, 1920s-1950s 181

Father, 1892-93 191

Daughter, 1936-62 207

Father, 1892-94 219

Daughter, 1948-59 233

Father, 1894 247

Daughter, 1952-62 255

Two Legacies 261

Epilogue: The Goodnight Kiss 267

Acknowledgments 271

Bibliography 275

Notes 279

Index 299

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