Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 1933-1938

1999, Viking (Penguin) edition probably from later that year
Blanch Wiesen Cook
Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 1933-1938
Original price $34.95, bought used for $8.40
Hardcover in good condition

I didn't find this as good as the first volume, with my mind wandering more, especially with the long, drawn-out unhappy relationship with "Hick" getting so much attention.  I was more interested in the issue of prejudice and how ER and others (including Hick) dealt with it.  Cook points out that one reason for the U.S.'s silence for so long about the Nazi abuse of the Jews was not only American anti-Semitism, but the shameful racism of much of the U.S. (although most obviously in the South) towards Negroes (the then politest term).  Lynchings were common early during FDR's administration, although all sorts of anti-black discrimination (much of it similar to what Hitler urged towards Jews) were everyday. 

ER had her own blind spots, but she made great advances personally and politically in the half-decade Cook examines here.  She was controversial, and yet more admired than any woman of her time, or than her popular husband.  Cook gets a bit worshipful at times, although it's understandable.  According to Wikipedia, Cook is currently working on Volume 3.  I doubt it'll be out in time for this project, but I probably will get it if and when it's published.  It'll likely focus on the World War II era, and I'd like to know more about what ER did and said in that period.  (And a Volume 4 with the UN would be great of course, but that's probably a long way off, to say nothing of Volume 5 with her reluctant involvement with the Kennedy campaign.)

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