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Hardcover No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Home Front in World War II Book

ISBN: 0671642405

ISBN13: 9780671642402

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Home Front in World War II

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Doris Kearns Goodwin's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic about the relationship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, and how it shaped the nation while steering it through the Great... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

9 ratings

Compelling reading

This book should be in the library of everyone who is interested in History and World War II.


Loved it

No Ordinary Time Parallels 2020

OK I admit this is a slow read, but I am learning a lot. Like an 80 year repeat of history. WW2 is similar in many ways to 2020. I understand why my Mother refused to throw out her spectators. Those shoes will come back in again. She promised. She was right.

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World Warr II - bought for my mo

I did not read this book but heard about it from my mother, I bought it for her to read during the pandemic. She thoroughly enjoyed it and it gave her some great history facts to share with others as well as how it affected her during that time.

A compelling portrait of remarkably unordinary people

Of the making of books on Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt there is not end. By any standard they remain two of the most remarkable people to have inhabited the White House, he as one of greatest presidents ever and she as without any serious competition the greatest first lady. Together, they forged a partnership without parallel in the nation's history. In a sense, the book is deceptively delimited. Goodwin ostensibly deals with the Roosevelts and the Home Front during WW II, but in fact this is more like a joint biography of the two. She freely shifts the narrative from the years of 1939-45 to any point in the lives of the two, whether to dwell on their first meeting, to the time in which Franklin was afflicted with polio and his attempted recovery, to Eleanor's upbringing and the sufferings she experienced with alcoholics, to Franklin's adulterous affair that effectively ended his and Eleanor's marriage if not their partnership. So the book ends up as a wide-ranging exploration of the lives of the two main characters, as well the major figures in their lives, whether in the war years or not. Franklin emerges in the book as what he certainly was: one of the truly great presidents in American history (even his detractors need recall that Ronald Reagan called him the greatest president). Virtually every poll of scholars since his lifetime has placed him among our three greatest presidents, but even that can overlook the fact that no president in our history faced more challenges than did Roosevelt, and few dealt with them so successfully. Goodwin is brilliant at showing both Franklin's great strengths as both president and a human being, as well as his weaknesses. As she demonstrates, perhaps no president had a greater sense of what could actually be achieved politically at any moment, as opposed to what ought to be achieved. He was the great master of compromise, at crafting seemingly impossible solutions to intractable problems. Could any other president have conceived the land-lease program that may have been as essential in determining the outcome of WW II? As she quotes Churchill as saying, no other individual of his age thought so globally and comprehensibly as he. And has there ever been a president who generated such confidence in the people as a whole. Whatever his moral shortcomings, his leadership qualities were beyond parallel, and surely no president spoke so brilliantly and directly to the hearts of Americans. Sometimes we don't get the leaders we deserve, but the ones we need. But despite Roosevelt's brilliance as a political leader, Goodwin does not spare in presenting him warts and all. She shows him as someone seemingly incapable of intimacy, despite the hordes of people he needed to surround him at all times. He possessed a host of admirable qualities, but he could also be disappointing, such as his behavior towards Missy Lehand after her debilitating stroke. He is also presented as someone who dete

No ordinary award - the Pulitzer - is very fitting

This is one of the finest books I have ever read about America's involvement in World War II. Not only has Goodwin thoroughly researched her subject, but she knows how to tell it in an easily readable, "can't put it down" manner. Writing an informative, wonderfully illustrative book about the home front during mankind's biggest, deadliest war is a feat, but making readers feel as if they are actually living and experiencing that time is another accomplishment altogether. Goodwin does this in a book that will be read hundreds of years from now. Anyone who wishes to get the feel for what it was like during this tumultuous time should buy this book, read it, and then read it again. Many people of FDR's inner circle are profiled and narrated, including Lucy Mercer, the woman FDR fell in love with and nearly divorced Eleanor over; Missy LeHand, FDR's personal assistant whom many referred to as his "real" wife; as well as Ikes, Morgenthau, Stimson and most importantly, Harry Hopkins.Goodwin also debunks some myths about the FDR presidency, both good and bad. Some World War II "Did You Know" tidbits covered:1. Nearly 105,000 refugees from Nazism reached the U.S., more than any other country. Palestine was second with 55,000. No one disputes that the number should have been much, much higher, but today's attitudes would lead people to believe that we turned everyone away. Footnote - during FDR's presidency, only 3 percent of the population was Jewish - but 15 percent of his appointments were Jewish. Our greatest wartime president was no Anti-Semite.2. The journey of the St. Louis. The author gives adequate attention to one of the great tragedies of the war, and an enormous stain on FDR's legacy. 3. Goodwin thoroughly covers the internment of Japanese-Americans - another enormous stain on FDR's presidency. But what is often ignored is the overwhelming pressure on FDR from a tremendous number of people to confine anyone even remotely related to the Japanese. This should not have mattered to FDR, and tragically, it did. One can only wonder if this was part of FDR's dealmaking mentality to accomplish many of his goals to prepare for and wage war. Quite possibly, if he didn't go along with this tragic idea, he many not have received cooperation on many of his other initiatives. People also tend to forget that this was all out war following a tragic, unprovoked attack. Many of the same things are happening to people of Arab decent following the 9/11 attacks, and the Bush administration doesn't hesitate to throw the rule book or Constitution out the window with people of Arab decent, all in the name of fighting terrorism. Rooting out sympathizers and spies was a principle reason in confining the Japanese. This is not a justification for internment, merely part of the reason.4. Eleanor played a big role in trying to convince Congress to pass legislation that allowed British children to come to the U.S. so they could be out of harm's way during the bombing of Bri

Not typical fare for history readers

Although I am an avid history reader, I'd recommend Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time," to most readers. Goodwin does not write in the typical non-fiction writing-style by not continually delivering fact after fact. She will dig into the story, isn't afraid to offer opinions from other historians, will often share a first-person quote from letters, interviews, etc.; and will not shy from surmising her own hypotheses on the subject matter.Although the book solely focuses on the Roosevelts during World War II with only passing mention to the New Deal and the Depression, the main body of the text is on the relationship between FDR and Eleanor and their concerted effort to win the war while bettering the American way of life at the same time. With Franklin, Goodwin examines his determination to beat fascism, both before the United States' involvement and after Germany declared war on the US. Key players such as Harry Hopkins, Henry Stimson, George Marshall, Winston Churchill and others make continual appearances in the book.Looking at Eleanor, Goodwin concentrates on her work with the OCD and her persistence at improving civil rights and women's issues. Goodwin does not shy from entering family business, and writes at length about FDR and Eleanor's unconventional relationship, their troubles with their parents, children and in-laws and FDR's early-marriage affair. Goodwin even tackles the controversial topic of Eleanor's alleged alternative lifestyle in very good taste by not gossiping but delivering factual information without jumping to conclusions.Missing from the book is any military view of the war so it helps to know some of the background of the WWII military theaters but is not necessary to still enjoy "No Ordinary Time." (I'd recommend Robert Leckie's "Delivered From Evil" for that aspect). The diplomacy view is also lacking as, for example, Goodwin spends more time on the controversy of Eleanor not going to the Tehran Conference, than the actual issues at the conference itself.That said, I still enjoyed this Pulitzer Prize-winning book and was quite impressed with the amount of information I learned on one of America's greatest president's and the effort this nation put forth on the home front to win the war. - In case any readers of "No Ordinary Time," become interested in the colorful Winston Churchill, I highly recommend William Raymond Manchester's "The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940." Although it covers Churchill before the war, it is written in much the same fashion of Goodwin's book in that it covers both the daily life as well as the international issues. Sadly, Manchester passed on before finishing his third installment in this incredible series.

A Fascinating Portrait of FDR & Eleanor and Their Times!

Once again Doris Kearns Goodwin pulls the elusive hare from the historical hat! I have been a fan of hers since reading "Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream" well over twenty years ago, and after all this time and reading a number of her books, I never cease to wonder at her incredible creative abilities, at her sheer profundity with language, nuance, and always choosing the right word to cast her narrative into exactly the right mode and string the reader along the trail of her entertaining and informative story line. This time out she tackles the single most fascinating period of modern American history, those critical years between the onset of the Depression and the end of World War Two. Here she has chosen to thread her way through both the public and private lives and times of the Roosevelts in the throes of their four successive administrations between 1932 and 1945, in the throes of what was undoubtedly the most momentous and critical period in modern American history. Her powerful prose style lends itself magnificently to the task at hand in terms of describing the principals and the social surround masterfully, and the reader is swept into the waves and eddies of the period, sitting in the catbird's seat as Goodwin describes both the intricacies of FDR's administration and their uneasy, unconventional, and unusual marriage. This is an extremely well researched, insightful and thoughtful study of two enormously complex people at the peaks of the intellectual, social, and political powers, in the midst of a socio-political maelstrom of historical proportions. As described by Goodwin, both Eleanor and FDR become figures of almost Biblical proportions; modern titans committed both to the nation as well as to each other. Yet these two were in many ways living separate lies, and one marvels and the degree of maturity, selflessness, and composure each had to face the issues of both their public and private obligations in the manner they apparently did. Her emerging portrait of FDR is that of a brilliant, charismatic, endlessly witty and wise patrician who steeled himself to the notion of "noblesse oblige", while Eleanor is painted in what is in many ways a much more sympathetic light, as a long-suffering, patient, loving and ultimately independent woman no longer content to stand quietly in the shadows. This is a very comprehensive, compassionate, and compelling historical biography of the Roosevelts in the context of their times, and is an admirable addition to the growing body of scholarly yet popular works so many recently active American historians like Goodwin, Ambrose, David Kennedy, James Patterson, and Taylor Branch have contributed to our understanding of the United States in the 20th century. I really enjoyed reading this magnificent book by Ms. Goodwin, and recommend it for your history bookshelf. Enjoy!

An Outstanding Example On How History Should Be Presented

Goodwin manages to pull off a delicate balancing act in No Ordinary Time. She spends a great portion of the book discussing the consequences of the large issues (race relations, labor/production struggles, military preparedness) facing the country during this period. Yet, she also spends as much time noting the personal issues, like Franklin and Eleanor's struggles with their marriage and the tragic travails of Missy LeHand. The result of this balancing act is a wonderfully complete depiction that gives one an appreciation of not only the complexities of the time, but also of the incredible intelligence and character of the Roosevelts. The comprehensive nature of the book makes it difficult to imagine that a better book on the Roosevelt presidency during World War II can be written.A reader may get a little lost trying to keep track of all the names, especially when they appear only once every fifty or one hundred pages. Fortunately, the index in the back is very useful for finding the first appearance and description of these characters. Still, this minor drawback does not offset the powerful lessons that the book teaches. For those who equate government with partisan bickering and gridlock, it is heartening to know that such conditions existed during World War II, yet were overcome with persistence and ingenuity. For those who did not live thorough those times, it gives a vivid portrayal of the sacrifices and challenges that all Americans endured. Finally, it shows that Roosevelt's belief that people will respond successfully when given a challenge and the freedom to rise to that challenge is true. These are all powerful lessons that not only illuminate our past, but give us a guideline for our future. Ultimately, that is the mark of a successful historical book. Goodwin should be (and has rightfully been) commended for making such a book.

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