Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

Finished The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt. It is made up of several books that she published over her lifetime, This Is My Story (1937), This I Remember (1949), On My Own (1958) and The Search for Understanding (1961). I am very slow when it comes to reading non-fiction, so it took me many months to read this book. That is no reflection on the book itself.

I think I expected to be captivated by Eleanor's life with FDR, however, they were apart much of the time and she was still evolving into the powerful force for good and change that she eventually became. So it was not until the two books written after FDR's death that I got hooked on her story. The first two, about growing up and life as the wife of a governor and then a president, are filled with polite remarks about meeting various important people and how charming, polite, etc., they were.

The later books document her work with the UN, her travel all over the world and her observations of what she saw. She rarely passes a negative personal remark. She makes no reference to the troubles of her marriage, other than the iron fist of her mother-in-law, she never mentions the alcoholism on both sides of the family. All of those things I learned from a PBS "American Experience" documentary about her.

For twenty-six years she wrote the newspaper column "My Day." Selected articles were published in the book My Day: The Best of Eleanor Roosevelt's Acclaimed Newspaper Columns, 1936-1962. I look forward to reading this someday in daily installments.

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