Eleanor Roosevelt Pt II
Eleanor Roosevelt : The Defining years: 1933-1938 by Blanche Wiesen Cook
Paperback: 686 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books(June 1, 2000)
Series: Eleanor Roosevelt, 1933-1938 (Book 2)
Historians, politicians, feminists, critics, and reviewers everywhere have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook's monumental Eleanor Roosevelt as the definitive portrait of this towering female figure of the twentieth century. Now in her long-awaited, majestic second volume, Cook takes readers through the tumultuous era of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the gathering storms of World War II, the years of the Roosevelts' greatest challenges and finest achievements. In her remarkably engaging narrative, Cook gives us the complete Eleanor Roosevelt— an adventurous, romantic woman, a devoted wife and mother, and a visionary policymaker and social activist who often took unpopular stands, counter to her husband's policies, especially on issues such as racial justice and women's rights. A biography of scholarship and daring, it is a book for all readers of American history.
Book 2 (another chunkster!) begins with Eleanor moving into the White House. At first she was quite unhappy about thinking she had to give up all the things she loved to become a “white house wife”.
Her life with FDR was most unusual. Although she never got over his affair they both admired each other. They both looked for what they could do to help the people of the United States and they always talked about their beliefs with each other. Strangely enough they were like close, close friends without actually being that.
It took reading this second book for me to realize that FDR was the President to pass Social Security. I probably knew this but forgot it along with many other things. I will also say that in my humble opinion.. it was all Eleanor that not only put the bee in FDR’s bonnet for Social Security, but kept the bee buzzing until “in his great wisdom” he pushed for Social Security.
The more you read about Eleanor the more you get to feel that she was more responsible for things FDR pushed for then he was himself. I would also go so far as to say if Eleanor were alive today that without a doubt she would become the first female President of the United States. She was way before her time. He continual fights for woman’s rights and equal pay and equal rights for blacks and for the poor would make anyone in politics attempts to “really help the people” to shame.
Books by Eleanor Roosevelt:
I was going to list books “about” Eleanor but the list would go on forever! I wonder if any other female has had so many books written about her??
There are a few controversial things about Eleanor that are also brought up in these books, mostly about a female friend named Hicks, but which I could not come out of reading the books with a conclusion. Mostly this is because when things are written using only parts of her letters you are then reading them out of context and one do not know the full story behind the partial letter nor does one know the true meaning of what she wrote. Add to that, the authors view on it is a given and so the writing is partial to their belief.. and lastly because: it makes not one bit of difference in this outstanding woman. Nothing could ever be said that would change the things she did and the love in which she did them.
I know I said it before but it has to be said again.. she was sooooo far ahead of her time. I wonder what she would be doing “for all the people” today if she were still alive.
I think I will end this post with the final paragraph in Volume 2 of Eleanor Roosevelt:
“With grit, determination, and a very high heart, Eleanor Roosevelt helped launch America’s crusade for freedom in the fascist era. She was fortified every day by her new allies, her abiding partnership with FDR, love for the people in her life, and love of the world.”