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Eleanor and Franklin Eleanor FranklinIn The Words Of Arthur Schlesinger, Eleanor Franklin Is A Beautiful Book Beautiful In Its Scholarship, Insight, Objectivity And Candor Joseph Lash Was Secretary And Confidant To Eleanor Roosevelt His Book Was Made Into The PBS Special Of The Same Name


About the Author: Joseph P. Lash

Joseph Paul Lash 1909 1987 was secretary and confidant to Eleanor Roosevelt and the author of numerous acclaimed books.



10 thoughts on “Eleanor and Franklin

  1. says:

    Eleanor and Franklin chronicles the evolution of Eleanor Roosevelt from an insecure girl and young woman into a woman who would impact the lives of many, many people When visiting US installations during WWII, than once she heard soldiers cry out Hey, there s Eleanor She radiated warmth and compassion with a down to earth style that made people feel like she belonged to them in some way In many ways she did belong to them She lived her life in service of others because she truly cared about the condition of human beings and wanted to make their lives better Very few people if any will argue that Eleanor Roosevelt was a remarkable person However, it is easy to think that remarkable people are born that way That plucked down in history at any time, they would have lived a similar life of accomplishment This might be true, but I think often the difficulties in life are what bring out the best qualities in people Mr Lash takes the time to show us the circumstances in Eleanor s life that shaped and formed her into the remarkable woman she was Lash takes considerable time explaining the dynamics of Eleanor s childhood Her father Elliot was the brother of president Theodore Roosevelt Her mother Anne Hall was decended from the prestigious Ludlow and Livingston families They were the darlings of society when Society was small and intimate Anne along with her sisters were celebrated beauties and Elliot had a vibrant and out going personality Eleanor, a serious child, was not a beauty and was made aware of this by her mother and her aunts She worshipped her father who was fun loving and the light of her life But her childhood was short lived Her father was an alcoholic and unstable emotionally It eventually became necessary for Anne to leave him and take Eleanor and her brother Hall As difficult as this was, it was compounded when both of her parents died leaving Eleanor and Hall in the custody of Anne s mother Here she grew up in the shadow of aunts and uncles who had their own problems When Eleanor married Franklin, she was an insecure young woman eager to please Although Franklin loved Eleanor, she always longed for a depth of intimacy that he was unable to meet Her mother in law Sara Delano Roosevelt was very domineering, and although she was always very nice to Eleanor, she was determined to have her way and direct the course of her only son s life if at all possible She would be a constant presence in their lives, always in the background criticizing and trying to direct until the day she died Eleanor gradually broke free of this, but it wasn t until they were in the White House that she really started blossoming Eleanor and Franklin covers Eleanor s childhood, her life as a young wife and mother, her role as Franklin emerged as a leader in politics, and their life together at the White House Lash uses Eleanor s correspondence and published writings to show how she dealt with becoming a public personality, raising her children with her mother in law constantly in the background, Franklin s infidelity, and finally the difficult years in the White House where she made the office of First Lady something it had never been before She was criticized as much as she was loved She often felt that it was her duty to tell Franklin things that others around him would not say, in a way to be his conscience Many thought she was butting in where she didn t belong By the time Franklin was president, they no longer had the traditional marriage She said to intimate friends that she was no longer in love with him, but she served him in love It was a role that many women couldn t have tolerated There were other women in his life that gave him space to relax and laugh Eleanor couldn t give him that, but she gave what she could, a view to the world that he didn t have She was an advocate for women, African Americans, youth, soldiers, anyone who asked There were times when she was taken advantage of She knew this, but had to help if she could The book is dense It is filled with details but is very readable Expect to give it some time It is a must read if you want to understand Eleanor Roosevelt, but also gives you a different perspective of FDR s presidency Eleanor and Franklin ends with Franklin s death in the spring of 1945 Mr Lash has written a sequel Eleanor The Years Alone I haven t read it yet, but you can be sure I will.


  2. says:

    Much with a lot of American history, I was a little vague about the details of FDR and Eleanor apart from Leslie Knope loving Eleanor on Parks and Rec So it was an enlightening read for me to learn about this very modern couple and the challenges they faced leading up to and during FDR s presidential terms I found the book really interesting and I only wish that there was of the various correspondence that was referred to in the book so that there was information about these fascinating relationships that were going on.


  3. says:

    Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph P Lash was published in 1971 and earned the Pulitzer Prize for Biography Lash was a radical political activist but grew disillusioned with communism and later became a journalist and author His 23 year friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt and proprietary access to her personal papers in 1966 formed the basis for this authorized biography Lash died in 1987 at the age of 77.The book s title notwithstanding, this is not a dual biography of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt FDR fails to appear until than 100 pages have elapsed Even then, Franklin s appearances seem often designed to highlight Eleanor s virtues than roundly describe his life or political career To some extent it is a book focused on the relationship between Eleanor and Franklin.But what Eleanor and Franklin really proves to be is an insightful, detailed and often dense review of the life of a remarkable woman who transformed herself from an insecure, orphaned young girl into the compelling champion of a wide array of humanitarian causes Despite its length 723 pages this book only covers Eleanor s life up to FDR s death The last 17 years of her life are chronicled in Lash s follow up volume Eleanor The Years Alone.Lash is not bashful about revealing Franklin s and Eleanor s numerous faults, but given his friendship with the former First Lady it is not surprising this is generally a sympathetic treatment of Eleanor Equally unsurprising is that the book proves quite discreet despite his proximity to the Eleanor and Franklin, Lash is reluctant to publicly ponder their private lives or most personal foibles.While the author is a capable writer, his prize winning tome is a detailed history than an engaging narrative or character analysis The book s matter of fact style leaves it far less engrossing than the subject matter deserves and some readers will find it difficult to persevere to the end.In addition, Lash furnishes almost no historical context so readers not already familiar with world and domestic events will likely miss the significance of many events or moments But it s deepest flaw is its cursory treatment of FDR who is less a partner in the relationship under scrutiny and the foil.The book s strengths are numerous and notable Most importantly, it peels back the public facing layers of Eleanor s complex life and highlights her selfless advocacy of people and causes that merited the attention of someone with her influence and devotion It also demonstrates the accommodations Franklin and Eleanor made for each other in order to sustain their unique partnership during his political career.Lash also does an excellent job describing the multifaceted and often tense relationship between Eleanor and FDR s mother, Sara And his review of the First Lady s fact finding trip to the South Pacific during World War II is both fascinating and revealing.Overall, Joseph Lash s Eleanor and Franklin provides an interesting and often insightful perspective into the life of Eleanor Roosevelt and her partnership with Franklin Because FDR appears only in a supporting role and, even then, largely as the antagonist this book is not capable of serving in any way as a biography of the 32nd president But even as review of Eleanor s life this is a good book which could have been great.Overall rating 3 stars


  4. says:

    This was an odd reading experience Normally I finish books quickly, which isn t at all a boast I have often envied those who engage with books languidly, savouring the experience I, on the other hand, have long sessions, breaking books and getting indigestion It was impossible to do that with this book it was dense Really, really dense with tiny font and squished paragraphs that gave me images of Lash sitting on an overfilled suitcase trying to zip it while also pleading with his publishers that it really does adhere to the weight limit There is a lot to admire in this density and I sincerely do appreciate the depth of research here I mean, that bibliography and end note section, come on When I reengaged with it I could always fall back into the writing style and narrative flow But I do think I am about as interested in Eleanor s White House menu as she was, and I was on a countdown to Pearl Harbor, and it s not really about Franklin, it s aptly Eleanor the Franklin Years The author loves ER and the book is written in that tone, so if you are happy with that and can slog through some of the minutiae it provides genuine insight into her and one of the great political power couples.


  5. says:

    I ve been on a Roosevelt family kick, since watching the PBS series about the Roosevelts last month The accompanying book was a good overview, but just got me interested in learning details about Eleanor This book than quenched my desire a bit too long I wanted details, I got details but a very thorough accounting of Eleanor s years before and during her marriage to FDR I was exhausted just reading about her many, many activities, and while it seemed like she had a very full life on her own, she was also the eyes and ears of her disabled husband I don t think I ve ever read about a selfless personit seems that just about anything she ever did was to help someone else, or to help groups of people blacks, women, children, soldiers, the jobless and homelessthe list goes on and on She eventually became aware of her power although she attributed it all to Franklin but the good she did in her life was unprecedented, and completely changed the role of First Lady in the U.S Highly recommended.


  6. says:

    The title notwithstanding this is a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, almost of two Eleanor Roosevelts The first ER was a daughter of wealth and leisure, her life being a succession of parties, trips, sporting events, dances and receptions, punctuated only by a notable three year finishing education in England I found this part, virtually half the book, both boring and depressing, given the vacuity of the favored lives recounted therein Then, after her marriage to the ambitious Franklin, Eleanor begins to become her own person, a change inspired she claimed by her discovery of his infidelity This process accelerates as their children become independent and as they enter the White House, Eleanor becoming the effective conscience of the administration and an influential activist in her own right This trajectory is traced until the death of her husband, the last eighteen years of her life not being described at all.


  7. says:

    This was a nice, readable biography, primarily of Elaenor Roosevelt Ok, I ll admit I didn t quite finish it, but I got almost to the war I was half way through the book when I realized it ended at Franklins death, which I found rather stunning and disappointing since she did so much after he died I chose this biography because it had won the Pulitzer and was presumably reasonably accurate and well written, and because it was written by a family friend I wasn t in the mood for a sensationaly, super revisionist book casting Eleanor as a 21st century feminist It did feel a little old school, though, having been written in the 1970s, and I found myself curious about how recent historians think about Eleanor and Franklin with a bit hindsight and current perspective A few things struck me as I read the book 1 Many parts felt like todays front page news I absolutely could not believe how almost verbatim Republican criticisms of New Deal policies are being repeated today.2 There is something wonderful about the sense of womanhood Eleanor exemplified To be so smart, gracious, determined, and accomplished, and yet have a gift for entertaining and homemaking and making guests feel welcome and cared for in your home is a lovely thing 3 People thought the young people in the late 1930s where a bunch of lazy, immoral, good for nothings As far as I can tell they became The Greatest Generation and pretty much saved western civilization I think there is hope for us yet 4 Both Eleanor and Franklin s lives have so many sad stories of unrequitted love.


  8. says:

    After Eleanor Roosevelt s death, her children gave family friend Joseph Lash, who had already written a memoir on Eleanor, her private papers with the hopes that he could compile them into a book An incredibly daunting task, and I applaud his efforts However, if you re going to call a book Eleanor and Franklin, and subtitle it with the claim that it s the story of their relationship, maybe you should begin with their relationship, and not with Eleanor s childhood Sure, there was a lot of great stuff, letters she d written to friend and family, including her uncle TR, but maybe write a separate book on that In fact, there could have been at least three books made out of this one Honestly, it was information overload for much of the book Things that were interesting for the author were, at times, dull for the reader, especially when it came to policy that Eleanor had a hand in For research purposes, this is a good source, but if you just want to read a pleasurable biography on either Eleanor or Franklin, there are better ones out there You can start with Eleanor s own autobiography.


  9. says:

    I first read this book in the early 70s when I was your typical 20 year old idealist and not political savvy What I took away from the book was Eleanor s fight for equal rights for the black race and Franklin staying in the background because of the southern Democrats Fast forward to now I m no longer the idealist Because I m older now, I found it so interesting to discover that the political fight back then very much parallels the arguments still used today I still admire her but because she walked the talk The author admits he knew her and they believed in the same causes, but I feel he did an accurate portrayal He backed the events with references, letters that she wrote, diary entries from others I was disappointed minimal was said in regards to the Japanese interment, though Her thoughts on that would have been interesting I highly recommend the book, especially to those who not only have an interest in history, but also political viewpoints.


  10. says:

    Eleanor Franklin is an awesome achievement of interview, research and writing Joseph Lash produced a tome which ever will be valued by scholars and historians I think I have never read all of this giant book but I have read some chapters parts two times, or three times Standing in front of Mt Fuji and being disappointed I have had that experience My reaction to, Eleanor Franklin, is similar Here is a Mt Fuji of historical literature but I still do not know the actual interrelation between Eleanor and Franklin and perhaps I should not, and perhaps none of us should Such complex people, such extraordinary personalities, such unfathomable relationships Joseph Lash helps to appreciate all this.


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