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No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II Winner Of The Pulitzer For History, No Ordinary Time Is A Chronicle Of One Of The Most Vibrant Revolutionary Periods In US History With An Extraordinary Collection Of Details, Goodwin Weaves Together A Number Of Story Lines The Roosevelt S Marriage Partnership, Eleanor S Life As First Lady, FDR S White House Its Impact On America As Well As On A World At War Goodwin Melds These Into An Intimate Portrait Of Eleanor Franklin Roosevelt Of The Time During Which A New, Modern America Was Born


10 thoughts on “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

  1. says:

    Doris Kearns Goodwin s No Ordinary Time is an unusual World War II book There are no descriptions of clashing armies, no in depth armchair analyses of battlefield strategies, no biographical sketches of medal bedecked generals moving their men like so many pawns This is World War II as viewed from the American home front, and specifically through the eyes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt No Ordinary Time begins in 1940, as Nazi Germany invades France, Luxembourg, and the Low Countries endin Doris Kearns Goodwin s No Ordinary Time is an unusual World War II book There are no descriptions of clashing armies, no in depth armchair analyses of battlefield strategies, no biographical sketches of medal bedecked generals moving their men like so many pawns This is World War II as viewed from the American home front, and specifically through the eyes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt No Ordinary Time begins in 1940, as Nazi Germany invades France, Luxembourg, and the Low Countries ending the so called Sitzkrieg, the period of inactivity following Great Britain s and France s declarations of war against the Third Reich It ends in 1945, with the death of President Roosevelt The events in between spoiler alert are momentous Some of the ground covered is standard for most World War II histories There is Roosevelt s struggle with the America First isolationist faction, the initiation of a peace time draft, and the famous Lend Lease bill that turned the United States into the Arsenal of Democracy Other topics, though, generally don t receive nearly enough attention Exhibit A is Goodwin s treatment of race and racism in 1940s America Black contributions to World War II are typically relegated to brief mentions of the admittedly illustrious Tuskegee Airmen What gets ignored is America s still segregated Army, its still segregated Navy, and the deplorable domestic treatment of blacks, including black munitions workers D iscrimination in the mushrooming defense industry continued unabated All over the country, new war plants were refusing to hire blacks Negroes will considered only as janitors, the general manager of North American Aviation publicly asserted It is the company policy not to employ them as mechanics and aircraft workers In Kansas City, Standard Steel told the Urban League We have not had a Negro working in 25 years and do not plan to start now And from Vultee Air in California a blanket statement was issued It is not the policy of this company to employ other than the Caucasian race Goodwin devotes several large sections of her book to this oft overlooked reality The reality that America s treatment of blacks segregated facilities, lynching, suppressed votes, suppressed juries bore uncomfortable similarities to Hitler s Germany I ve definitely becomesensitive to the elision of wartime black experiences having recently read Richard Slotkin s Lost Battalions, about the World War I travails of the black community so I appreciated Goodwin s thorough dedication to the topic It bears mentioning that Hitler drew this analogy himself As did Goebbels Accordingly, I suggest this is an exception to Godwin s Law and its corollaries If Hitler himself says you are like Hitler, there is no violation This 600 page volume covers a wide array of subjects In many ways, it is a sweeping look at life during war, but away from war But at its heart, No Ordinary Time is quite intimate In a very real way, it is a household drama, starring Franklin D Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and a rotating cast of boarders No matter what is going on in the world, everything that Goodwin writes about comes back to the couple living in the White House And that s okay Having finished No Ordinary Time, I m hard pressed to think up afascinating, twisted, and compellingly dysfunctional yet functioning administration FDR s White House is unbelievable The shenanigans that took place during his four terms 12 years make John Kennedy s sex filled fake Camelot look like a Family Circus cartoon Among the lodgers in the People s House were Missy LeHand, the President s personal secretary and possible mistress, and Lorena Hickok, a one time journalist in love with Eleanor It is unlikely that Eleanor, who was admittedly closed off in matters of the heart, ever consummated a relationship with Hickok Goodwin meticulously documents the extracurricular drama aided and abetted by a press corps with fardiscretion than their modern day counterparts , and makes good use of the White House logs to track the comings and goings of visitors She also notes, for those who were wondering I include myself that FDR s polio did not cause a lack of sexual function Among other things, this book is a portrait of a marriage an oddly paired, emotionally destructive, unfathombaly complex union Clearly, FDR needed outlets mental, if not physical that Eleanor could not provide Likewise, Eleanor needed support and attention that she never received from her husband Perhaps, both of them would have been happier had they never met Eleanor certainly would have been She knew of her husband s affair with Lucy Mercer, probably suspected an affair with Missy LeHand, and had to watch him flirt with Martha, the crown princess of Norway She also had to endure FDR s carelessness, his tactlessness, and his occasional casual cruelty FDR is, by any metric, one of our greatest and most transformational presidents He was also sort of a prick Yet, Goodwin persuasively argues that emotional incompatibility aside they made a formidable political team FDR dedicated himself to winning the war, to the extent that he was willing to bargain away many of his New Deal accomplishments to that end He focused on the global picture, the strategy, and the mobilization He was single minded in his dedication to Axis destruction Eleanor provided the boots on the ground, both literally and figuratively She traveled the country tirelessly, meeting with constituents, providing the personal touch She met with interest groups and soothed ruffled feathers She fought to protect the New Deal legacy, and also to broaden the umbrella to include the black community If Eleanor had turned down FDR s proposal of marriage, life might have been easier at the same time, and to his credit, FDR allowed her to achieve greatness in her own right Goodwin s portrait of Eleanor by itself makes No Ordinary Time a worthwhile read Her views were amazingly modern and inclusive, and she had the guts to defend them at a time when many people didn t want to hear any opinion from a woman For a long time, I avoided Goodwin s books I only knew her from Meet the Press, where she d sometimes appear to deliver a facile comparison between current and historical events I figured if her books were as broad as her sound bites, I d be better off avoiding them Team of Rivals proved I am an idiot for thinking this Now I have begun working my way through her bibliography No Ordinary Time is minutely researched, beautifully written, and tells a compelling story that combines elements of world historical import with scenes from the weirdest soap opera ever conceived It is part history, part biography, part TMZ, and always engaging


  2. says:

    A truly memorable book Doris Kearns Goodwin is a fine writer who manages to transform seemingly insignificant snippets of data into compelling reading.This volume covers the period from May, 1939 to April, 1945 and focuses on what was going on in the U.S through the actions and writings of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and others close to them It truly deserves its Pulitzer Prize and the four orother awards and accolades it garnered.I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable about the A truly memorable book Doris Kearns Goodwin is a fine writer who manages to transform seemingly insignificant snippets of data into compelling reading.This volume covers the period from May, 1939 to April, 1945 and focuses on what was going on in the U.S through the actions and writings of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and others close to them It truly deserves its Pulitzer Prize and the four orother awards and accolades it garnered.I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable about the period the book covers but I discovered a ton of new information Goodwin, also, not only relates the facts, she is not afraid to state what she sees as the implications of what has happened A prime example is the beginning of the integration of Negroes into the work force at all skill levels There are many others.Her deft handling of the complicated relationship that Eleanor and FDR had allows the reader to see its many layers without being hit over the head with juicy tidbits.Goodwin never loses focus, throughout, while still managing to keep the reader chronologically oriented to events outside the President and his wife s immediate concerns.I was appreciative of how well Goodwin tied up loose ends in the last chapter, A New Country Is Being Born and the short Afterword It really gives the reader a sense of closure while hinting at what will follow after FDR s death.This book comes as close as possible to the ideal of a factual history being as interesting to read as a novel


  3. says:

    I m reminded of the saying, If you want to learn something, read non fiction I am learning the answers to questions I didn t know I had Exactly how did the internment of the Japanese get started When were land mines invented What was Eleanor Roosevelt really like It was around this time that Executive Order 8802 came about, with the wording we are all so used to discrimination is banned on grounds of race, color, creed, or national origin The national origin part was added because t I m reminded of the saying, If you want to learn something, read non fiction I am learning the answers to questions I didn t know I had Exactly how did the internment of the Japanese get started When were land mines invented What was Eleanor Roosevelt really like It was around this time that Executive Order 8802 came about, with the wording we are all so used to discrimination is banned on grounds of race, color, creed, or national origin The national origin part was added because the Poles were having some trouble in Buffalo So read this book and learnabout the country and about WWII The book isn t a page turner but it is readable


  4. says:

    Kearns Goodwin s No Ordinary Time Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt The Home Front in World War II was published in 1994 and won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1995 Goodwin is an author and presidential historian who has written about Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, LBJ, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.This 636 page book is meticulously researched, fact filled and essentially a hybrid literary construct it is part history text and pa Kearns Goodwin s No Ordinary Time Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt The Home Front in World War II was published in 1994 and won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1995 Goodwin is an author and presidential historian who has written about Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, LBJ, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.This 636 page book is meticulously researched, fact filled and essentially a hybrid literary construct it is part history text and part dual biography of FDR and his wife Eleanor Goodwin s narrative is sometimes gossipy butoften is sober and serious However, this book is not comprehensive in scope it is focused on the last five years of the Roosevelt presidency 1940 through 1945.With few exceptions No Ordinary Time proceeds chronologically But Goodwin occasionally breaks the timeline to inject historical context which would otherwise fall outside the book s scope such as the Roosevelts early upbringings, FDR s battle with polio and the marital rift created by Franklin s affair with Lucy Mercer.As its title suggests, Goodwin s book is farfocused on the home front than with global affairs Readers seeking a deep appreciation for the ebb and flow of World War II will be disappointed Instead, Goodwin conveys history almost exclusively from the perspective of the First Couple and their family, friends and colleagues who lived in the White House during these weighty years.On balance, Eleanor and Franklin would probably appreciate Goodwin s portrayals of their respective characters and legacies FDR is depicted as an extraordinarily intuitive and consequential politician but a flawed husband and friend Eleanor often lacks self confidence and a sense of self worth but possesses remarkable devotion to a wide range of important progressive causes As its highest calling, Goodwin s book seems designed to demonstrate both the complexity and the value inherent in their unique partnership.But Goodwin s perspective viewed through the lens of this compelling couple comes at the expense of a deeper examination of Franklin s political philosophies and legislative priorities, a broader understanding of the war itself and avibrant description of the president s most important political relationships such as his fascinating relationship with Winston Churchill.By virtue of the book s relatively narrow chronological focus the reader misses some of the fundamentals and many of the nuances of FDR s early life up through his New Deal agenda In addition, the book s structure and style and flow creates the frequent impression of the reader being rigidly walked through the First Couple s daily schedules without concern for the relative importance of individual moments.Overall, though, Doris Kearns Goodwin s No Ordinary Time is a compelling review of one of the most compelling and important First Couples in our nation s history It is not a consistently easy, colorful or comprehensive treatment of FDR s life But most fans of Franklin or Eleanor Roosevelt will find this book little short of outstanding.Overall rating 4 stars


  5. says:

    Remind me to never read a book this big in the middle of a busy school semester Throughout the book, I found myself slightly disappointed by FDR He isn t lovable or heroic and there are times that I really question his integrity, especially in his relationships and his resistance to stepping down after his first two terms So although the book is thorough and full of information and anecdotes, and although there are lots of things to point to that he did well, I find I cannot give it a higher r Remind me to never read a book this big in the middle of a busy school semester Throughout the book, I found myself slightly disappointed by FDR He isn t lovable or heroic and there are times that I really question his integrity, especially in his relationships and his resistance to stepping down after his first two terms So although the book is thorough and full of information and anecdotes, and although there are lots of things to point to that he did well, I find I cannot give it a higher rating, because I could never really get behind FDR like I could when I read about Teddy Roosevelt, John Adams, or Lincoln On the other hand, I was very surprised at how important and interesting Eleanor Roosevelt was What a lady Ahead of her time for sure With what she did to progress civil rights for black people and woman and workers, wow woo wee wuh She was a tremendous person and I think without her, FDR would ve just been some dude I can t believe that she isn t taught aboutin schools all over She s just as important to history as FDR is, but I didn t hear about her until college STEP IT UP, AMERICA


  6. says:

    I took a long time reading this book because it was like time travel, like seeing into the past NO ORDINARY TIME is a marvelously researched and rendered account of perhaps the most important and influential marriage in American history Franklin and Eleanor s relationship is fascinating, so complicated and extraordinary, and yet so human, and in its own way, familiar Eleanor, to her eternal credit and the benefit of our country, was a tireless champion for women and African Americans and the I took a long time reading this book because it was like time travel, like seeing into the past NO ORDINARY TIME is a marvelously researched and rendered account of perhaps the most important and influential marriage in American history Franklin and Eleanor s relationship is fascinating, so complicated and extraordinary, and yet so human, and in its own way, familiar Eleanor, to her eternal credit and the benefit of our country, was a tireless champion for women and African Americans and the poor Franklin was as well, to a lesser degree, but his calculus was muchcomplicated than hers The book features story after story of people experiencing one kind of social injustice or another and somehow getting word directly or indirectly to Eleanor, who would be outraged And at that precise moment, Franklin is having cocktails with his friends this was an important part of his process for managing the work stress caused by, you know, the Depression and World War II.Then Eleanor, in high dudgeon, comes in, completely focused on some poor person s plight and totally buzzkills the party Franklin s annoyed They argue Often though not always he agrees to take some action Ultimately, he appreciates her awareness of what s happening in the country, and her ability to go places he couldn t really go, both because he was president and because of his polio Goodwin s writing is marvelously efficient, thorough and insightful Her eye for detail and organization is just about perfect She admires and empathizes with Franklin, Eleanor and the people around them, but she also sees their flaws and holds them accountable for their mistakes and misjudgments, while also contextualizing them She details, for example, Franklin s decision to listen to the voices in his cabinet and military who called for interning Japanese Americans as perhaps the most glaring example That policy not only made fishwrap of the Constitution, it went against his own values I savored this book, took the last pages slowly because I didn t want it to end, didn t want Franklin to die, suddenly, while visiting his mistress But he did And Eleanor found that out, and had to live with that as part of her memory of him There s a wonderful scene at the end of the book where Eleanor is taking Bess Truman on a tour of the White House Eleanor doesn t seem to notice that the new first lady is quietly appalled that the place is in such disrepair Keeping up the president s residence is apparently part of the first lady s traditional responsibilities, but between traveling, writing a daily newspaper column, and advocating for Americans who had no one else of her stature or influence on their side, Eleanor Roosevelt never quite found the time to keep house, even the White House


  7. says:

    No Ordinary Time is a unique blend of biography and WWII history from the US perspective Many biographies have been written about both Eleanor and Franklin, so as in Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit, Goodwin chose to take a different approach She does an excellent job and pulls it off beautifully The book covers primarily the years 1941 through 1945, the time that the United States is involved in WWII However, she gives sufficient background information on both FDR and ER as well as the l No Ordinary Time is a unique blend of biography and WWII history from the US perspective Many biographies have been written about both Eleanor and Franklin, so as in Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit, Goodwin chose to take a different approach She does an excellent job and pulls it off beautifully The book covers primarily the years 1941 through 1945, the time that the United States is involved in WWII However, she gives sufficient background information on both FDR and ER as well as the lead up to the war that everything is put in perspective Both of the Roosevelts are seen as wonderfully human with strengths and weaknesses and the contrast between Eleanor s idealism and Franklin s practical politics provide a sense of tension and a wonderful feel for what FDR faced as President trying to balance domestic concerns with the war effort I did feel that Goodwin was a littlesympathetic to one than the other, but I ll leave that for you to decide.The Roosevelts had a unique marriage partnership that was rooted in events of the past The two primary events are FDR s affair with Lucy Mercer and his polio attack, one of which pushed them apart and the other drew them together Each of them had many people who they were close to and who supported them intimately and they are all mentioned here Missy LeHand, Daisy Stuckley, Harry Hopkins, Louis Howe, Lorena Hickok, Joseph Lash etc There are of course many others who were involved in the government and in their lives who are mentioned in addition to their grown children Goodwin covers them all with just enough information to put them in place and show their connection to the Roosevelts In spite of the many individuals mentioned and the complex domestic and war situations, I don t think anyone will be lost Although it might leave you wanting to knowabout different people or subjects Goodwin s writing style is nice and the book is never boring I highly recommend it


  8. says:

    Fascinating, meticulously researched, well written, and unforgettable, it s no wonder No Ordinary Time won the Pulitzer Prize for history, the Harold Washington Literary Award, the New England Bookseller Association Award, the Ambassador Book Award, and The Washington Monthly Political Book Award This remarkable book provides a close up account of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt s years in the White House from 1940 to 1945 They were an extraordinary team Franklin was an outstanding leader duri Fascinating, meticulously researched, well written, and unforgettable, it s no wonder No Ordinary Time won the Pulitzer Prize for history, the Harold Washington Literary Award, the New England Bookseller Association Award, the Ambassador Book Award, and The Washington Monthly Political Book Award This remarkable book provides a close up account of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt s years in the White House from 1940 to 1945 They were an extraordinary team Franklin was an outstanding leader during World War II with his keen understanding of foreign policy while Eleanor provided insight into the concerns and issues on the homefront Each of them were not without flaws, but their contributions to the country were profound However, the book covers muchthan just the political climate as the publisher s brief annotation reads No Ordinary Time is a monumental work, a brilliantly conceived chronicle of one of the most vibrant and revolutionary periods in the history of the United States.With an extraordinary collection of details, Goodwin masterfully weaves together a striking number of story lines Eleanor and Franklin s marriage and remarkable partnership, Eleanor s life as First Lady, and FDR s White House and its impact on America as well as on a world at war Goodwin effectively melds these details and stories into an unforgettable and intimate portrait of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and of the time during which a new, modern America was born I cannot say enough good things about this book Anyone interested in United States history would enjoy this book


  9. says:

    Doris Kearns Goodwin s No Ordinary Time Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt The Home Front In World War II is no ordinary book In fact, it is great And to drive the point, even further, let me repeat that it is GREAT.Mrs Goodwin is an American treasure, her contributions as a historian are extraordinary Whether she is dissecting Lincoln s Presidency in Team of Rivals or Teddy Roosevelt s friendship and rivalry with President Taft in The Bully Pulpit or her heartwarming tribute to baseba Doris Kearns Goodwin s No Ordinary Time Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt The Home Front In World War II is no ordinary book In fact, it is great And to drive the point, even further, let me repeat that it is GREAT.Mrs Goodwin is an American treasure, her contributions as a historian are extraordinary Whether she is dissecting Lincoln s Presidency in Team of Rivals or Teddy Roosevelt s friendship and rivalry with President Taft in The Bully Pulpit or her heartwarming tribute to baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers in Wait Till Next Year or her amazing, detailed, and poignant portrait of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in the above reviewed book, one is always left breathless and in awe of her writing and certainlyeducated and studious about our history and the amazing people who have contributed to our greatness as a country No Ordinary Time is a historical look at President Roosevelt s accomplishments as a leader before the war, during the Great Depression, and throughout the war as he oversaw the greatest military and industrial build up in the history of the world It is hard to imagine any other President in the history of the 20th century who could have mustered and guided our country and its citizens and the world any masterful than this extraordinary, yet flawed, individual It is not a far cry, and Mrs Goodwin alludes to this in her book, to say that President Franklin Roosevelt is chiefly responsible for the freedom enjoyed today in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the world That being said, if one is looking for an unknown hero to emulate one should look no further than Eleanor Roosevelt During this extraordinary and difficult time, she led the charge against racial discrimination in the military, in the work force, and against the living conditions that black Americans were forced to survive under Her pressure on the President, his cabinet, the military and labor was one of the chief reasons for desegregation in the military, work force, and urban housing The Civil War might have ended slavery, but it did not free black Americans She also championed women s rights in the work force, fought against the Japanese internment during the war, helped to set up the first child care centers for the millions of American women who entered the workforce during this period, and forced the President to include women in the politics of the time and that is just a few of the things this amazing and tireless woman did for our country and citizens At no financial cost to the American public.Besides, the wonderful portraits of these two incredible individuals, Mrs Goodwin skillfully integrates the complicated relationships the President and his wife had with Churchhill, Stalin, their children, their confidants and everyday American citizens Truly an amazing book and no surprise the winner of the The Pulitzer Prize


  10. says:

    Amazing personal look into the Roosevelt s before and during a difficult time in our history I cannot believe the research that went into this book.


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