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Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That…
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Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady

by Susan Quinn

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A good book that seemed to take a long time to get through. Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickock had a long-term relationship. Early in the marriage when Eleanor discovered Franklin's breakage of his marriage vows to woe Eleanor's private secretary, Eleanor knew that wanted to divorce him, but his running for the US Presidency precluded that option. She was by his side when necessary, but basically found her own options for closeness and love.

Different in personality, Hick was broad in both weight and in the way she expressed herself. Eleanor chose the middle ground in conflict. Formerly a highly acclaimed AP reporter, Hick gave this up in order to be by Eleanor when ever possible. Traveling throughout the mid west during American's terrible financial depression, she wrote to FDR of grown men crying while standing in line hoping for employment in order to feed his family.

There were interesting tidbits throughout the book, particularly how the Roosevelts freely used the White House as a stopping place for friends and relatives to stay long term.

Highly intelligent, both women pushed for jobs programs and personally fed people throughout their travels.

Hick seemed to want more than Eleanor could give. Theirs was a long lasting relationship that had tremendous range of feeling and compassion. ( )
  Whisper1 | Nov 14, 2018 |
Really kind of a 3.5, and that's because I'm super interested in the historical time periods it covers. I'm interested to read both more of Susan Quinn's work and more books about ER, and maybe I liked it all the more because I didn't know much about the relationship between FDR and ER or between ER and Hick. Fascinating details about various power lesbian couples slip in here and there; I could have used a lot more context and information about them, but it's a nice start or reminder to read more queer history! Which this ... sort of isn't. Also, as a fat diabetic lesbian, I got annoyed at the constant attitude the book pulled toward Hick about those details.
FINALLY, I was unhappy with how racist Hick appeared in one portion of the book, and it made me not read it for a few days because I just couldn't face Hick. One reviewer on GR mentioned that it's deeply about White Feminism(TR) & yes, part of it definitely is. Again, that makes me seek out other histories of the times, ones that foreground Black and Latina and Asian and Native lesbians, or at least as much as we can know.
OK. Off to find those other books and give them my attention. Interesting listen though. ( )
  SuziSteffen | Feb 20, 2018 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this new offering by Susan Quinn. Though the correspondence between Lorena "Hick" Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt has been published previously, Quinn succeeds in providing a fuller backstory & additional context to the intimate relationship between these two complex, nontraditional firebrands who occupied the White House during very tumultuous years and remained friends for life. ( )
  twp77 | Jan 24, 2018 |
I loved the narrative voice of this book. ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
Eleanor and Hick by Susan Quinn is a book I picked up from the library. I enjoyed this book and learned a lot of history from it too. When it talked about the history of Hick's life, it is so sad and yet if she lived today, this would not have happened. Sure, she might have had a drunk father that beat her but she couldn't live own her own as a young teen.She also wouldn't have to work at different places to feed herself. Hick had a hard life, a total opposite of Eleanor. I also learned more about Eleanor's life. Learning of all of FDR's indiscretions, which is probably just what most men of power did, is still disturbing. Both women were very independant and smart. Something that wasn't popular at that time. Eleanor and Hick had someone to talk with together and to bond with. When it turned to love, well good for them! They sure didn't have it at home. I enjoyed the book but it was slow in many spots but overall I got a lot of history bits here and there even in the slow zones. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Sep 7, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159420540X, Hardcover)

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 thirty 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 thirteen 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 29 Jul 2016 01:12:50 -0400)

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 1933, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt embarked on 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 thirty 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 escaping 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 fell in love. For the next thirteen years, Hick had her own room at the White House, next to the First Lady's. 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 urged her to continue to use her popularity for important causes--advice Eleanor took by leading the UN's postwar Human Rights Commission. At every turn, the bond between these two women 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"--Publisher description.… (more)

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