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Publisher's Summary

Now back in print, a candid and insightful look at an era and a life through the eyes of one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century, First Lady and humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt.

The daughter of one of New York's most influential families, niece of Theodore Roosevelt, and wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt witnessed some of the most remarkable decades in modern history, as America transitioned from the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, and the Depression to World War II and the Cold War.

A champion of the downtrodden, Eleanor drew on her experience and used her role as First Lady to help those in need. Intimately involved in her husband's political life, from the governorship of New York to the White House, Eleanor eventually became a powerful force of her own, heading women's organizations and youth movements, and battling for consumer rights, civil rights, and improved housing. In the years after FDR's death she became a U.N. Delegate, chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, a newspaper columnist, Democratic party activist, world-traveler, and diplomat devoted to the ideas of liberty and human rights.

This single volume biography brings her to life through her own words, illuminating the vanished world she grew up, her life with her political husband, and the postwar years when she worked to broaden cooperation and understanding at home and abroad.

©2014 Original material © 2014 by Elleanor Roosevelt. Recorded by arrangement with HarperPerennial. (P)2014 (p) 2014 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books.

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What a woman!

What did you love best about Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt?

A fascinating life, during a fascinating period of our recent history. Mrs Roosevelt was a woman well before her time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ummm, Eleanor Roosevelt.

What does Tavia Gilbert bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

At first I didn't love the narration. She seemed to exaggerate the last consonants of words and over-emphasised the pronunciation of the phrase "my husband", which made it feel like it was used twice in every sentence. However, the narration improved as the book progressed.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I found myself looking for tasks I could complete with ipod attached.

Any additional comments?

If you're looking for an insight into the personal relationships between Mrs Roosevelt and her children or FDR, you won't find it here. There is so mention of FDR's affairs, for example. Mind you, that wasn't what I was interested in anyway. I really enjoyed this book for its history, and for Mrs Roosevelts opinions and beliefs. If only there were people like her and FDR in public life today.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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How Eleanor saw her world and life

This book is a collection of several volumes originally sold separately. Portions of these have been abridged and additional information has been added. All alterations were done by the author herself, in an effort to improve the content. Thus the book is split up into different sections, each having a specific theme. I liked some sections and disliked others.

The first part is about her childhood and familial relationships. This part was excellent. You see how Eleanor develops from an insecure and naive girl into a strong, independent woman. Watching this transformation is inspiring. You come to understand how and why she changes. You understand how she came to marry Franklin. You also understand the family she married into. This shaped her too.

Then you follow her years with Franklin. He establishes his career, becomes president and dies. How they influenced each other is covered, but historical events are skimmed over. This is not the book to pick if you want the details of Franklin’s political decisions or the war years. There are huge gaps in both historical events and personal relationships. This is an autobiography and clearly Eleanor is telling us what SHE wants said. There is no mention of either her own or her husband's extramarital relationships. It is not just the relationships that are lacking but also Eleanor’s support of Blacks and Jews is scarcely dealt with. I was disappointed that so very much was missing. I wanted to hear more about her efforts to coerce her husband into helping these groups. Oh, and it was strange how she spoke of her husband not as Franklin, but as “my husband”!

After the death of Franklin her role as a UN Delegate and Chairman of the Commission of Human Rights is meticulously covered, but here the writing sounded like a political speeches selling her views against the prevalent beliefs during the Cold War period. This section felt dated and extremely repetitive! I would mutter, "OK, here we go again.......another speech with the same message for the fifth, sixth time!" "Old truths" are proclaimed. This was the part of the book that was most thoroughly covered. She traveled all over the world speaking to political leaders. Much of this section reads as a travelogue recounting all the different places she visited. She worked as a columnist, a speaker and a radio correspondent. She never stopped working; the book follows her through her 75th year, as an activist and speaker of human rights. Her death, three years later, is not covered.

The audiobook is narrated by Tavia Gilbert. This narrator has a young voice, and it worked well for the young, naive Eleanor. As her self-assurance grows it felt more and more misplaced.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Who's who

If you want to know every person Eleanor ever met and exactly when and where this is the book for you. If you want to understand her, choose another book. Plus, the narrator's voice is too high pitched to match Eleanor's persona. Not worth the price as fas as I am concerned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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historical and inspirational for today's politics.

despite the sometimes overly detailed accounts, I will miss Eleanor and her journeys. what a remarkable women. political leaders and citizens alike could learn much that is wisdom for today if they took the time to learn about Eleanor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lovely reader however.....

Would have preferred older, plain speaking reader. Could not picture Eleanor Roosevelt as I listened. Quite unsatisfying. In fact, I plan to return it.

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  • Sue Gilbert
  • South Burlington, VT United States
  • 12-18-16

Heartwarming and inspiring

I am so glad to have gotten to know such an accomplished, humble, and wise human being. Eleanor is a role model for the ages. The narrator enhanced an already very "readable" autobiography.Definitely one of my favorite books now.

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Inspiring

Eleanor Roosevelt has always been one of the most inspiring women of the 20th century. Listening to her full story and hearing her thoughts and introspections has made it much more so. I found this work thoroughly engrossing.

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Great inspiration but she does censor herself so

This is Eleanor Roosevelt. A chatty description of her life. Things she feels comfortable saying. unfortunately for the reader we want more of her personal thoughts. But I was intrigued by her commitment.

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Excellent

Eleanor Roosevelt was one special lady. She had wisdom and understanding beyond her years. She had a difficult life as far as family relationships went, but it only made her a better person to others. If you are interested in learning more about her, this book was quite good.

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disappointing

Would you try another book from Eleanor Roosevelt and/or Tavia Gilbert?

While I have a high opinion of Eleanor and Franklin, and that has not changed, this book lacks insight into what their lives or probable personalities were truly like. You will not hear much for revelation in the lives of Eleanor and FDR. Eleanor portrays a very controlled and almost 'starched' ambassador/stateswoman that she, perhaps out of necessity, showed the world. She definitely shows a sensitive and caring side but what family life was like for them, is mostly a mystery.

What about Tavia Gilbert’s performance did you like?

Her performance seems to match well what I think Eleanor's demeanor and personality was like.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt?

too much, near endless, detail of her schedule. eleanor worked tirelessly through many long years but i wanted "content" over form.

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  • Lesleyboyd
  • 04-21-15

Disappointing

Having seen a superb one woman play on Eleanor R I really wanted to know more about her. The narrator was super but the autobiography was uninspiring and far too much about "my husband this, my husband that..". Also, there was little about her personal life it was mainly about her public life.
Rich and wealthy who think they are poor! Shame because she did great things.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • EMILIA SANCHEZ
  • 11-05-17

Great accomplishments!

Interesting life and admirable pursuit of human rights and justice.
Loved her enthusiasm in confronration for her beliefs.