Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt’s marriage is one of the most celebrated and scrutinized partnerships in presidential history. It raised eyebrows in their lifetimes and has only become more controversial since their deaths.
From FDR’s lifelong romance with Lucy Mercer to Eleanor’s purported lesbianism - and many scandals in between - the American public has never tired of speculating about the ties that bound these two headstrong individuals. Some claim that Eleanor sacrificed her personal happiness to accommodate FDR’s needs; others claim that the marriage was nothing more than a gracious façade for political convenience. No one has told the full story until now. In this groundbreaking new account of the marriage, Hazel Rowley describes the remarkable courage and lack of convention - private and public - that kept FDR and Eleanor together. She reveals a partnership that was both supportive and daring. Franklin, especially, knew what he owed to Eleanor, who was not so much behind the scenes as heavily engaged in them. Their relationship was the product of FDR and Eleanor’s conscious efforts - a partnership that they created according to their own ambitions and needs.
In this dramatic and vivid narrative, set against the great upheavals of the Depression and World War II, Rowley paints a portrait of a tender lifelong companionship, born of mutual admiration and compassion. Most of all, she depicts an extraordinary evolution - from conventional Victorian marriage to the bold and radical partnership that has made Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt go down in history as one of the most inspiring and fascinating couples of all time.
I enjoyed this book, but I wouldn't ever recommend it to anyone. I enjoyed it because I wanted to have more of an insight into Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and thought starting with their marriage was a good beginning. So it was a very personal motivation and it succeeded in that the book does chronicle the marriage, poke into many of the rumors and paint the two main characters as noteworthy to be sure. BUT I now expect my non-fiction forays to be told by a good story teller - I guess I am spoiled, but this book just sort of loped along and relied on its facts rather than its art.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Of all the books I have listened to from Audible, this is my favorite. I loved he way the story was told and I learned a lot about FDR and Eleanor. This is one of those books that inspire you to read other books about the subject. If you are an expert on FDR, you might not appreciate it as I did but if, like me, you want to learn about FDR's presidency and family life, this book brings it all together beautifully in a cohesive, entertaining way.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The researcher appears to be trying to be quite objective in this treatment of an extraordinary marriage. Franklin and Eleanor appear to be quite modern and surrounded by an entourage of friends, flirtations and philandery that make quite a travelling circus troupe as they move from mansion to mansion creating change in the U.S. Franklin comes out a bit better than Eleanor - clearly a masterful politician and very loyal to all of his mistresses, if not physically, at least emotionally. Hard to imagine who he could have married if NOT Eleanor, who built quite an independent life for herself. Overall, the book gives us a look at two truly unconventional people.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would certainly recommend this book as an audiobook. It is very well written and read. It is detailed without dragging, and is also very human in the way it talks about these two giants of mid 20th Century America.
Who was your favorite character and why?
In a biography I do not find it possible to choose a favourite character, as there are no 'characters'. Each person written about existed and contributed to the story of Franklin and Eleanor.
Have you listened to any of Tavia Gilbert’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not heard Tavia Gilbert before, but she did not intrude into the reading in any way and I would be happy to listen to her again.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I was always reluctant to stop the reading when the time came to go and do something else. I had it loaded to my iPod and so was able to take it with me most places and during most activities. Listening as continuously as I did, made the people in the book much more real.
Any additional comments?
What a remarkable pair these two were! And how little I knew of them - I am not American, and so am not as familiar with the folk who peopled and contributed to the history of the USA.
I was engrossed in their story, and very impressed with the work they did, both of them, their commitment to the things they believed in and, not to make them into angels - their foibles and faults.
They became so human.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
This book was not as good as I expected that it should be. I feel that Eleanor was given too much credit in the marriage.
What didn’t you like about Tavia Gilbert’s performance?
I did not care for her presentation.
Was Franklin and Eleanor worth the listening time?
Yes, mostly because of the subject matter.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful