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The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  1,826 Ratings  ·  229 Reviews
The long and eventful life of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was full of rich experiences and courageous actions. The niece of Theodore Roosevelt, she married a distant relative and Columbia University law student named Franklin Delano Roosevelt; he gradually ascended throughout the world of New York politics to reach the U.S. presidency in 1932. Throughout his three terms, ...more
Paperback, 454 pages
Published March 22nd 1992 by Da Capo Press (first published November 30th 1960)
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This book is a collection of several volumes originally sold separately. Portions of these have been abridged and additional information has been added. All alterations were done by the author herself, in an effort to improve the content. Thus the book is split up into different sections, each having a specific theme. I liked some sections and disliked others.

The first part is about her childhood and familial relationships. This part was excellent. You see how Eleanor develops from an insecure a
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a very careful, guarded autobiography, written towards the end of Eleanor's life. And it was an extraordinary life, indeed. It is a challenge for anyone to write a candid autobiography, of course; there are people in everyone's life who deserve privacy and forgiveness and respect despite their failings. But it makes for a sterile book. There is nothing salacious here; no insight at all in to the experience of being married to a serial womanizer, for example, or even acknowledgement that ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Eleanor lived through very interesting phases of the country's history - World War I, World War II, the suffrage movement, and the Cold War to name a few. She played a significant part of her husband's presidency, being FDR's eyes, ears and legs, so to speak.

I read this book because it was used heavily as a source in Noelle Hancock's "A Year with Eleanor." Hancock was an entertainment blogger who got laid off. One day, she read a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, "Do one thing every day that scares
This book was originally published in 1946. I first read it in 1960 just after I attended a lecture by Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962). Over the years I have read everything I could get my hands on about Eleanor. I was reviewing some notes the other day and decided it was about time I reread “Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt” by Eleanor Roosevelt.

The book is well written but it must be taken in the age it was written, by a woman of the 19th century. The book is written in the reserve style of th
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I got into reading about past Presidents around the time of the inauguration and became very curious about Eleanor Roosevelt when reading about her husband. After reading this three-volume autobiography, I am no longer curious, but I have even more admiration.

If you're very curious about her childhood, then by all means read the first volume, but if not, read the wikipedia article for a summary and skip to the good stuff. The second volume covers her years in the White House and contains many o
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting read. Autobiography's always have a different flavour than historical fiction or biography's, eg books by Doris Kearns Goodwin. One of the most interesting comments she makes is right in the preface" The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature to those of us who like to study people is that in fiction, the author can really tell the truth without hurting anyone and without humiliating him/or herself too much.......In an autobiography this is hard to ...more
Feisty Harriet
2.5 stars. I was really hoping for more....for more SOMETHING from this book. Perhaps my expectations were just too damn high? Eleanor Roosevelt has always reigned in my mind as a champion for women and for civil rights, and in reading a biography about her you definitely get that sense. However, in her own words, she skips over most of that and focuses on FDR instead. She talks about racism as "the social issue" or something and doesn't address it directly. She does talk about her work for the ...more
Helen Louise
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable woman, way ahead of her time. I so admire how she accomplished so much and made her own way at that very tough time in history. She served as a delegate for the first session of the U.N. in 1946! Traveled extensivly throughout the world for different causes, all to try and make the world a better place for the unfortunate.
Lene Jaqua
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
Eleanor's story is well written, but written at a distance. She is a woman of strong convictions, first puritan-like, later more liberal but the same rigid exterior. What I struggled with in this biography is I felt we never got to HER. She was always supportive of Franklin (nice wife) and it was all about his causes.

A particular thing that stood out to me was the birth of her first daughter and her first son. Daughter came first. She wrote something akin to, I gave birth to a daughter and we n
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having watched Ken Burns series about the Roosevelts I was interested in learning more about Eleanor Roosevelt. I hoped to get an understanding about their very unconventional relationship of living almost separate lives but being devoted to one another, while cementing their place in history during his political career. I can't say that I have any better understanding of her devotion to Franklin to the extent that she appeared to form fond relationships with one or two of the other women in Fra ...more
Kim Lee
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting but very much "of its time". Unlike today's culture people of Elanor's era did not talk about their feelings so while you get a very good picture of what she did, and some of what she thought you will not walk away with insights into what she felt after reading this.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
"This is intolerable. We cannot permit it to go on. Our political conventions, as they now function, are as obsolete as outmoded machinery," writes Eleanor Roosevelt in the early 1960s. Sound familiar? If you want to read a story about one of the hardest working women in American political history, this one's for you!
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I had actually known very little about Eleanor Roosevelt before reading this book. It was wonderful to both learn about her and view the world through her eyes. She lived to be almost eighty and her life was never dull. One can only aspire to be a fraction as active as she. A biography of Eleanor Roosevelt is fascinating because you really get sense of how she developed as a person. It was a slow process for her and she didn't become the independent person we think of until well into her middle ...more
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has excerpts and a synopses from Ms. Roosevelt's earlier work; This is My Story, and continues where said book left off; through Mr. Roosevelt's presidency, their years in the White House, her role as his eyes and ears when he couldn't travel due to illness, her leadership in the development of the United Nations Dclaration of Human Rights Bill, up through her personal and political life in the early 1960's. While one gains insight into the development of Ms. Roosevelt's beliefs and pe ...more
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Enjoyable read, and it was fascinating to observe how she responded to and was influenced by circumstances at different stages of her life. Given how widely quoted she is and the esteem she seems to be held in, I had assumed before reading this book that she had led a charmed life sheltered from the trials and tribulations faced by us mere mortals. Finding out that this was not the case was a pleasant surprise which made her all the more human and easy to relate to.

There were some things I woul
Apr 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mailed to Jane
Recommended to ~mad by: one of CMC's books
This is one of my mother's books - she idealized Mrs Roosevelt - so I am looking for some insight. Having read 60+ pages, I see some resemblance already!

This quite a read. I learned more from this book thanI ever would have in a classroom - and I am not a history buff. But I have all of these books!

It dragged 'for me' at the end at the last convention Eleanor attended. Isn't that interesting - I found another time and another place much more fascinating than the time during the first 10 years of
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm truly surprised at how interesting and well written this book is; almost a page turner. (Of course not by today's standards.) As with most of us today, we only know Eleanor as an historical figure and a President's wife, but after the PBS series I really wanted to get to know more her as a person. So far her book has not disappointed me.
Also very surprised that she was orphaned at 10 yrs old and raised by her very strict Grandmother. Although she went to a boarding school in England and spo
I would have liked to hear more about Eleanor's early life and more her feelings about her experiences. It read like who's-who in society and politics throughout Eleanor's life and career. It did give good history of the US and an in-depth look at some experiences with world leaders and WWII. The end was a little long and drawn out, giving her opinions on current events, that are obviously no longer current, but it was insightful to hear her talking in her own words about her feelings on the sta ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
After watching the wonderful Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts, I wanted to know more about them, and this is where I began. This is no tell-all. Not a mention of FDR's affairs, and hardly any detail about Mrs Roosevelts relationships with her intimates. But it's a very interesting and inspiring read, and Mrs Roosevelt's opinions and beliefs are well ahead of their time. I found the latter part of the book the most interesting, but the whole is well worth reading.
Larry Bassett
Teas and travel

For the first half of this book we see Eleanor Roosevelt as the wife of FDR. In that roll she served a lot of tea to guests and took a backseat. I must admit I didn't find that too interesting.

The last half of the book after FDR died Eleanor did a lot of world travel and work with the UN. Her view of the world is well presented and fascinating at times.
Kelsey McKim
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
Eleanor Roosevelt's voice and personality really shine through! It feels like she's talking to you, not writing something formal. And it doesn't hurt that I agree with many of her views about war, democracy, and human rights!
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Eleanor was a very inspiring woman. The dynamic between herself and FDR was interesting. They sacrificed a lot for our country.
I've always wanted to learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt, and after HRC namechecked her so often in WHAT HAPPENED, I decided to dig in. This audiobook is 18 hours long for a reason - Roosevelt was indefatigable, and it's easy to understand why she's an inspiration to Clinton. The latter part of the book, where she visits Russia and compares democratic countries to what she sees in a communist country, felt very relevant to today's political climate. I also enjoyed her reflections on raising her ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This is Eleanor Roosevelt's story in her own words, and since she is the author you will learn only what she wanted told. I thoroughly enjoyed the opening section of the book where she tells about her childhood. She is guarded throughout the book, but this part of the book felt the most open. Her childhood was challenging, and she really managed to overcome so many difficulties that she was initially faced with. She provides very little detail about her courtship with Franklin. There isn't much ...more
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, library-book
There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved, and other parts that left me a little bored. That's the best explanation I can give for only giving this three stars. That said, I'm glad I read this, and it definitely offers a greater insight into the life of a fascinating woman.

This book consists of four parts, each of which was originally published on its own. The first part covers Eleanor's early years, from her childhood through her early marriage to Franklin. The second part mostly co
My mother was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen.

Eleanor Roosevelt started out life as an orphan under the care of her strict grandmother. Awkward and painfully shy, her upper class upbringing was oftentimes lonely. She married her cousin Franklin before she was 20, had 5 children, and could have gone down in history as just another quiet politician's wife, but through helping FDR with his campaigns she was exposed to people from many different walks of life. She found her calling
Katy Zhang
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
It was clear when reading this book (or in my case listening to the audio book of Eleanor Roosevelt's Autobiography), she spent most of her time explaining in extraneous detail of things that I thought didn't matter as much to my time. My impression of her, from the story, was that she found this autobiography as a channel to voice her opinions and to defend her positions from oppositions or rumors or what have you that she noted in her time. She poured it all out in this book and I thought that ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was shocked to meet the Eleanor in the first part of this book who was dutiful, obedient, and a woman who never gave any thought to whether she supported women's suffrage. In her words, "the ability to think for myself did not develop until I was well on in life and therefore no real personality developed in my early youth." How depressing...but it gives some hope to those of us about to hit that age at which Eleanor's life really started to get fired up.

The early part of the book also offers
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book after reading that Eleanor Roosevelt had been an outspoken proponent of racial equality while her husband was in office, when her position would have been politically controversial. I wanted to learn more about her political activism and her views on human rights more generally. One surprising conclusion I drew from her autobiography was that for most of her life she didn’t see herself as much of an activist at all - she gives an impression more of someone who has a deep ...more
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Eleanor Roosevelt Biography 4 16 Apr 11, 2014 12:54PM  
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Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American political leader who used her influence as an active First Lady from 1933 to 1945 to promote the New Deal policies of her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as taking a prominent role as an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, she continued to be an internationally prominent author and speaker for the New Deal coalition ...more
More about Eleanor Roosevelt
“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” 1102 likes
“He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” 43 likes
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