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Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary…
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Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage

by Hazel Rowley

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I just devoured this book. I am not an historian, so I cannot debate the veracity of the facts. However, assuming this story sprung from research with integrity, it was a fascinating read. Indeed, a remarkable relationship existed between Franklin & Eleanor. It was based on acceptance of one another which stemmed from them being accepting of people in general. Superficial traits and public opinion had little to do with their loyalties, although they did require secrecy to live as their true selves. I like the idea that they both retained their humanity, the good, the bad, and the ugly, despite their public lives. Who are we to judge? As seems to be true for many memorable leaders, it seemes to me that the children probably suffered more than either parent. In this case, both parents were great leaders, so I would be interested to learn more about the impact their life choices had on their five children. Most interesting to me: their love of communal living combined with their fierce independence and their personal insecurities. ( )
  hemlokgang | Nov 12, 2011 |
Well-researched and highly readable exploration of a fascinating marriage, see my review full review at Whisperinggums: http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/hazel-rowley-franklin-and-eleanor... ( )
  minerva2607 | Oct 1, 2011 |
As a former history major, one might assume that I frequently pick up nonfiction to read for fun. Not true...at all. Actually, there are very few nonfiction books that I have picked up for fun. I think something about the plethora of history reading as an undergrad might have disillusioned me a bit on nonfiction reading. But I digress. I picked this book up on a whim and did not once regret it--start to finish.

In this book, Rowley takes on the Roosevelt marriage: it's ups and downs and all the eccentricities in between. The Roosevelt marriage has taken on a shroud of mystery over the years that many have attempted to uncover. Rowley does a fantastic job not (blatantly) "taking a side" in the discussion of the relationship that FDR and Eleanor had. Their marriage was definitely non-traditional and what we know about them is today (still) clouded and incomplete. Rowley, I think, would lead us to believe that such a mystery was intentional. The conventions of yesterday and today would still look down upon a marriage such as Eleanor and FDR had. They weren't the perfect couple, as many want to believe, but they had a successful marriage built on mutual trust and understanding. Rowley takes the reader from the very beginnings of their relationship through the end, with FDR's death and Truman's swearing in.

Rowley's writing makes this read like a novel. It is enjoyable and fast-paced--not a dull moment (which, I suppose, one might expect when talking about the Roosevelt marriage). This is probably the first time that a non-fiction biography has actually moved me to tears. I would definitely recommend this book to history fanatics, mild history fans, WWII fans, avid readers...everyone!
1 vote ReadingFanatic09 | Jul 7, 2011 |
Showing 4 of 4
The Roosevelts' nonconformist love lives, as well as their expansive impulses to turn the White House into a World War II-era hippie crash pad, have been recounted by other superb biographers, notably Blanche Wiesen Cook and Doris Kearns Goodwin. What distinguishes Rowley's chronicle is her focus on the evolution of the Roosevelt marriage from a standard-issue high-society alliance of its day to a ... what? We don't even have a term for such an unconventional relationship — certainly "open marriage" sounds too naughty, although "open" is what the Roosevelts clearly became.
added by CSMcMahon | editNPR (Nov 10, 2010)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374158576, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:36 -0400)

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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--a partnership that they created according to their own ambitions and needs.… (more)

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