Franklin and Eleanor by Hazel Rowley
An Extraordinary Marriage

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Synopsis

Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt’s marriage is one of the most celebrated and scrutinized partnerships in presidential history. It raised eyebrows in their lifetimes and has only become more controversial since their deaths. From FDR’s lifelong romance with Lucy Mercer to Eleanor’s purported lesbianism—and many scandals in between—the American public has never tired of speculating about the ties that bound these two headstrong individuals. Some claim that Eleanor sacrificed her personal happiness to accommodate FDR’s needs; others claim that the marriage was nothing more than a gracious façade for political convenience. No one has told the full story until now.

In this groundbreaking new account of the marriage, Hazel Rowley describes the remarkable courage and lack of convention—private and public—that kept FDR and Eleanor together. She reveals a partnership that was both supportive and daring. Franklin, especially, knew what he owed to Eleanor, who was not so much behind the scenes as heavily engaged in them. Their relationship was the product of FDR and Eleanor’s conscious efforts—a partnership that they created according to their own ambitions and needs.

In this dramatic and vivid narrative, set against the great upheavals of the Depression and World War II, Rowley paints a portrait of a tender lifelong companionship, born of mutual admiration and compassion. Most of all, she depicts an extraordinary evolution—from conventional Victorian marriage to the bold and radical partnership that has made Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt go down in history as one of the most inspiring and fascinating couples of all time.


 

About Hazel Rowley

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Hazel Rowley is the author of Christina Stead: A Biography, a New York Times notable book. She has taught at Iowa University and at Deakins University in Melbourne, and is a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
 
Published October 26, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Franklin and Eleanor

Kirkus Reviews

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A distinguished biographer’s fresh take on the marriage of the Roosevelts, the most dynamic couple ever to occupy the White House.

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Publishers Weekly

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"In my view, the Roosevelts' bond was political in every sense of the word," writes Rowley, who also argues that despite the difficulties in their marriage, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt always genuinely loved each other.

Sep 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

Los Angeles Times

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The biographer delves into the Roosevelts' marriage with a glowing portrait of the first couple, but it's a topic that's been covered before — and better elsewhere.

Nov 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

Christian Science Monitor

Historians have made much about Eleanor’s sexuality, and Rowley tackles the question directly.

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Christian Science Monitor

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt shared “one of the most interesting and radical marriages in history," contends biographer Hazel Rowley.

Dec 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

The Sydney Morning Herald

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Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

PopMatters

I know: not another biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Jan 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

NJ.com

But, as Rowley concludes, “Eleanor Roosevelt could not have been the woman she was without Franklin, but nor could Franklin Roosevelt have been the man he was without Eleanor.” This, above all, is what Rowley brings to light.

Nov 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

Bookmarks Magazine

Most of all, she depicts an extraordinary evolution—from conventional Victorian marriage to the bold and radical partnership that has made Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt go down in history as one of the most inspiring and fascinating couples of all time.

Nov 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

The New York Review of Books

The past week, Eleanor was journeying as usual but stopped at Newark, New Jersey, where a bunch of Negroes were having a jamboree, and naturally Eleanor had to stop there and have her picture taken with a nigger.

Jun 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

Marie Claire

Why Read It: It's a complex story about how our appearances shape our lives — and it's already gained notice in the book world (USA Book News gave it the "Best Books" award for literary fiction last week, before the book even came out!).

Nov 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

Brisbane Times

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Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extr...

Reader Rating for Franklin and Eleanor
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