A warm, intimate account of the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok - a relationship that, over more than three decades, transformed both women's lives and empowered them to play significant roles in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.
In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the first lady with dread. By that time she had put her deep disappointment in her marriage behind her and developed an independent life - now threatened by the public role she would be forced to play. A lifeline came to her in the form of a feisty campaign reporter for the Associated Press: Lorena Hickok. Over the next 30 years, until Eleanor's death, the two women carried on an extraordinary relationship: They were, at different points, lovers, confidantes, professional advisors, and caring friends.
They couldn't have been more different. Eleanor had been raised in one of the nation's most powerful political families and was introduced to society as a debutante before marrying her distant cousin, Franklin. Hick, as she was known, had grown up poor in rural South Dakota and worked as a servant girl after she escaped an abusive home, eventually becoming one of the most respected reporters at the AP. Her admiration drew the buttoned-up Eleanor out of her shell, and the two quickly fell in love. For the next 13 years, Hick had her own room at the White House, next door to the first lady.
These fiercely compassionate women inspired each other to right the wrongs of the turbulent era in which they lived. During the Depression Hick reported from the nation's poorest areas for the WPA, and Eleanor used these reports to lobby her husband for New Deal programs. Hick encouraged Eleanor to turn their frequent letters into her popular and long-lasting syndicated column "My Day" and to befriend the female journalists who became her champions. When Eleanor's tenure as first lady ended with FDR's death, Hick pushed her to continue to use her popularity for good - advice Eleanor took by leading the UN's postwar Human Rights Commission. At every turn the bond these women shared was grounded in their determination to better their troubled world.
Deeply researched and told with great warmth, Eleanor and Hick is a vivid portrait of love and a revealing look at how an unlikely romance influenced some of the most consequential years in American history.
©2016 Susan Quinn (P)2016 Penguin Audio
The title of this book is deceptive. It is really simply a biography of Eleanor. The first third or less of the book deals with the relationship between Eleanor and Lorena Hickcock. It is implied that they had a full-on lesbian affair until a few hours into the book when the author makes a disclaimer saying it is not known to what extent their relationship was physical. After this first part of the book the structure changes to alternate between a bit on Hick's life and a bit on Eleanor's life with little or no connection between the two. It appears they had some kind of close relationship very early on and then went their separate ways while remaining friends. Since Eleanor had a much more complex life the book alternates between five minutes on Hick's life and a few hours on Eleanor including Franklin. It turns into a standard Eleanor biography and not a particularly distinctive one at that. The narrator is excellent but this is a disappointing listen.
As they say, the book is a fair and balanced picture of two courageous women who shaped America. Much new to ponder even for those who think they know ER. Meticulously researched.
Nothing. While Eleanor has an incredible story the writing was redundant and minimizing. I was ready to stop listening with 5 hours left.
I enjoyed this story. There were times it was a bit drawn out, but overall it was enjoyable. I felt like it brought a different perspective to Eleanor Roosevelt.
i would recommend it.
A Fascinating Duo who affected the course of history during the Great Depression, WW ll and race relations into today.
As a lover of all things that influence the course of our past, present and future, I found this glimpse into Eleanor Roosevelt's make up significant. Especially in HS (a Catholic School by the way), we were taught of her influence in international relations. Never knew of her conflicts with Spellman or the Catholic Church, not surprisingly, the problem was the Church's.
Of course we never heard of Hick. For 12 years my work had me living in Hyde Park part time. I made many friends in the area and frequented a restaurant across the street from the FDR Historical Site. I knew of Valkill but unfortunately never visited it. ER's relations with women was a source of snickers but not historical fact. As a matter of fact it is not proven in this book.
What I did find significant was the affection and respect, as well as the input that these two heroines had on the course of the Depression and WW ll, as well as the other course changing events during FDR's Presidency and beyond.
I enjoyed the narrator's role in the book.
loved it. book flowed along and was extremely easy to follow. I will read this book again and recommend it to friends also interested in history and a great president and the history surrounding his legacy
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