Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 1: The Early Years, 1884-1933

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The central volume in the definitive biography of America's most important First Lady. "Engrossing" (Boston Globe).

The captivating second volume of this Eleanor Roosevelt biography covers tumultuous era of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the gathering storms of World War II, the years of the Roosevelts' greatest challenges and finest achievements. In her remarkably engaging narrative, Cook gives us the complete Eleanor Roosevelt—an adventurous, romantic woman, a devoted wife and mother, and a visionary policymaker and social activist who often took unpopular stands, counter to her husband's policies, especially on issues such as racial justice and women's rights. A biography of scholarship and daring, it is a book for all readers of American history.
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About the author

Blanche Wiesen Cook is Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume Two: 1933-1938 and Eleanor Roosevelt:Volume Three, 1938-1962, Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution and The Declassified Eisenhower, and is a former vice-president for research at the American Historical Association.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Mar 1, 1993
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9781101567463
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Pulitzer Prize–winning, best-selling author of Founding Brothers and His Excellency brings America’s preeminent first couple to life in a moving and illuminating narrative that sweeps through the American Revolution and the republic’s tenuous early years.
John and Abigail Adams left an indelible and remarkably preserved portrait of their lives together in their personal correspondence: both Adamses were prolific letter writers (although John conceded that Abigail was clearly the more gifted of the two), and over the years they exchanged more than twelve hundred letters. Joseph J. Ellis distills this unprecedented and unsurpassed record to give us an account both intimate and panoramic; part biography, part political history, and part love story.

Ellis describes the first meeting between the two as inauspicious—John was twenty-four, Abigail just fifteen, and each was entirely unimpressed with the other. But they soon began a passionate correspondence that resulted in their marriage five years later.

Over the next decades, the couple were separated nearly as much as they were together. John’s political career took him first to Philadelphia, where he became the boldest advocate for the measures that would lead to the Declaration of Independence. Yet in order to attend the Second Continental Congress, he left his wife and children in the middle of the war zone that had by then engulfed Massachusetts. Later he was sent to Paris, where he served as a minister to the court of France alongside Benjamin Franklin. These years apart stressed the Adamses’ union almost beyond what it could bear: Abigail grew lonely, while the Adams children suffered from their father’s absence.

John was elected the nation’s first vice president, but by the time of his reelection, Abigail’s health prevented her from joining him in Philadelphia, the interim capital. She no doubt had further reservations about moving to the swamp on the Potomac when John became president, although this time he persuaded her. President Adams inherited a weak and bitterly divided country from George Washington. The political situation was perilous at best, and he needed his closest advisor by his side: “I can do nothing,” John told Abigail after his election, “without you.”

In Ellis’s rich and striking new history, John and Abigail’s relationship unfolds in the context of America’s birth as a nation.
One of the New York Times's 100 Notable Books of 2016
One of NPR's 10 Best Books of 2016

"Heartachingly relevant...the Eleanor Roosevelt who inhabits these meticulously crafted pages transcends both first-lady history and the marriage around which Roosevelt scholarship has traditionally pivoted." -- The Wall Street Journal

The final volume in the definitive biography of America's greatest first lady.

 “Monumental and inspirational…Cook skillfully narrates the epic history of the war years… [a] grand biography.” -- The New York Times Book Review


Historians, politicians, critics, and readers everywhere have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook’s biography of Eleanor Roosevelt as the essential portrait of a woman who towers over the twentieth century. The third and final volume takes us through World War II, FDR’s death, the founding of the UN, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s death in 1962. It follows the arc of war and the evolution of a marriage, as the first lady realized the cost of maintaining her principles even as the country and her husband were not prepared to adopt them. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to struggle for her core issues—economic security, New Deal reforms, racial equality, and rescue—when they were sidelined by FDR while he marshaled the country through war. The chasm between Eleanor and Franklin grew, and the strains on their relationship were as political as they were personal. She also had to negotiate the fractures in the close circle of influential women around her at Val-Kill, but through it she gained confidence in her own vision, even when forced to amend her agenda when her beliefs clashed with government policies on such issues as neutrality, refugees, and eventually the threat of communism. These years—the war years—made Eleanor Roosevelt the woman she became: leader, visionary, guiding light. FDR’s death in 1945 changed her world, but she was far from finished, returning to the spotlight as a crucial player in the founding of the United Nations.

This is a sympathetic but unblinking portrait of a marriage and of a woman whose passion and commitment has inspired generations of Americans to seek a decent future for all people. Modest and self-deprecating, a moral force in a turbulent world, Eleanor Roosevelt was unique.
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