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Publisher's Summary

Presenting an aspect of American history that has never been fully told, Doris Kearns Goodwin describes how the isolationist and divided United States of 1940 was unified under the extraordinary leadership of Franklin Roosevelt to become, only five years later, the preeminent economic and military power in the world. Using diaries, interviews, and White House records, Goodwin paints an intimate, detailed portrait not only of the presidency during wartime but also Franklin and Eleanor themselves, as well as their friends, advisers, and family. Bringing to bear the tools of both history and biography, No Ordinary Time relates the unique story of how FDR led the nation to victory in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and, with Eleanor's essential help, forever changed the fabric of American society.

Listen to Doris Kearns Goodwin talk about this book on C-SPAN's Booknotes (10/25/94).

©1995 Doris Kearns Goodwin, All Rights Reserved; (P)1995 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved; Audioworks is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall

Great Personal History

The author provides countless personal insights into the lives of Elenor and Franklin Roosevelt. Although no new ground is uncovered, the author weaves the personal histories of two extraordinary people into a biography that gives great insight into a topic we see too little of today: Leadership.

As I listened to this book, I remarked repeatedly how lucky we were to have leadership that was at once personal and flawed, but overall magnificent and extraordinarily timely.

Franklin Roosevelt, according to his own wishes, is downplayed in history. I was reminded of this recently, when several in congress wanted to replace Roosevelt's bust on the dime with Reagan's. Mrs. Reagan had the class to actively squelch this campaign (at least for now).

Certainly history will judge each president in turn, but Roosevelt stands as a true giant in history, and this book cooberates his standing. Elenor's consistent contributions are stressed as well throughout the book; for in fact, they were the first president and first lady "team" in modern history.



12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good enough that I wish it were unabridged.

The original book was a Pulitzer Prize winner -- enough said. I'm way too young to have first-hand memories of the years covered in this book, so I learned a lot about Franklin and Eleanor and the people around them. Fascinating.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Nice in combo with “Hyde Park on the Hudson”

Any additional comments?

As someone born in the 1960’s who has not read extensively about American presidents nor American involvement in WWII, I found this book very interesting and informative. There was just enough detail for me in this abridged version of the book, which touched on both Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt’s personal and public lives, primarily during WWII. Someone with a more burning interest in these topics would probably want to read the unabridged version, but for anyone with merely a passing interest, this abridged version is just the right length. Mr. Herrmann’s performance of the book was excellent, and a foreword and afterword are read quite effectively by the author. Having just enjoyed “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” the 2012 movie about Roosevelt starring Bill Murray (an excellent film), this book definitely expanded my understanding of both the man and his times. As I listened, my mind was full of vivid pictures from the film of the president driving his car, looking at his stamp collection, enjoying his daily cocktail hour, and posing for press photos *after* being helped out of his wheelchair so the American public wouldn’t realize the extent of his disability. The book devotes nearly as much time to Eleanor as to her husband (unlike the film) and left me with a much increased understanding of her importance, in both the life of her husband and of our nation.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mary
  • Sunland, CA, United States
  • 09-19-12

Really good

The narrator (Edward Herrmann) of this book is THE best -- I purchased this book because I had listened to him narrate three other books and his performance here was not disappointing. I find Doris Kearns Goodwin a simply remarkable historian --- she knows how to make it real and interesting without making it too "just the facts". She weaves it all together so it is more of a novel than a biography. A truly great experience and time very well spent. More from both the author and the narrator would be GREAT!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

No OrdinaryTime

I enjoyed listening to this book. It gave me a real insight as to the physcological working of FDR and Elenore, and I better understood what was going on at that time, and I better understood what a great president FDR was and why how difficult that period was. I was a child at the time and remember acutely all of the events which were described and fortunately or unfortunately did not understand how vulnerable we all were. I finished the book having more empathy for FDR and realizing how his and Elenore's lives could not have been otherwise considering the times. I will listen again to this book.The title was very apropo. I also did not perceive any bias from the author. Antonella

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Inspiring

Well written with a good balance of coverage of the personalities, events, and atmosphere of the times. Very interesting to recognize just how much changed in a decade - a factor of the times but also of some very savvy and talented leadership. It will be interesting to see what parallels ultimately are drawn to our current era. Will our generation rise to the challenge?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Donald
  • Martinsburg, WV, USA
  • 08-24-09

Highly Recommended

It definitely was a worthwhile listen. I can now understand why the author is so highly thought of. Do yourself a favor and listen to this audiobook..........listen, learn, and enjoy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

just wish it hadn't been abridged!

Would you consider the audio edition of No Ordinary Time to be better than the print version?

Only in easey access of listening as I did some sewing...wish it were not abridged. Thanks.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very good but overly abridged

This is an interesting portrayal of the Roosevelts during WW II and before. But this 6 hour selection from an unabridged audiobook of over 30 hours focused too much on the admittedly interesting personal aspects and too little on the policy and strategic decisions of FDR. That was apparently the choice made in the decision to abridge so much. A 12-14 hour version would have been better. That said, it repays listening and Hermann does his usual superb job reading! If you want a short take, this is recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Different Approach to the Roosevelt Period

What made the experience of listening to No Ordinary Time the most enjoyable?

Characters' lives/history which I was not aware of prior to this book. An interesting perspective for this period of our history.<br/>

What did you like best about this story?

Explanation of reasons for why people behaved as they did.

What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent narrartor. Not sure his is better/more applicable than another narrator.

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

no

1 of 1 people found this review helpful