Day 815: No Ordinary Time

Cover for No Ordinary TimeNo Ordinary Time tells of the contributions of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt to the conduct of the United States before and during its participation in World War II. The book relates how Franklin Roosevelt exercised his acute political awareness of public opinion to nudge the U.S. out of isolationism during the war, foreseeing as he did how the world would be changed if Germany succeeded and how assisting England against the Axis powers allowed the U.S. to ramp up for war. While Roosevelt was concentrating on the war, Eleanor remained his social conscience, attempting to hold on to the social advances of the New Deal, taking up the causes of women and their right to work and of African-Americans and their right to equal treatment.

The book also treats of the relationship between Franklin and Eleanor. Although they were always friends and companions, Eleanor had been devastated much earlier in their marriage to find out that Franklin had been having an affair with her own secretary, Lucy Mercer. This discovery ended certain aspects of their marital relationship. Eleanor’s relationship with her mother-in-law was difficult, too. In many ways, Eleanor was never at home in her own house. When she had to find a way to be of use as First Lady, since the traditional role of hostess didn’t suit her, she began to make a life for herself as Franklin’s eyes and ears around the country. So successful was she at this that when Franklin wanted to rekindle their relationship later in life and asked her to stay home more, she didn’t want to give up her active life.

These were two remarkable people, although they had their faults. At times, Eleanor’s zeal for a cause made her oblivious to Franklin’s need at the end of the day for relaxation. She found it difficult to unbend, always wanting to be active. Franklin, although charming and seemingly affectionate, was occasionally selfish and seemed sometimes to have no care for people who had given him unstinting care and friendship.

Reading this book made me feel as if I really knew these people, a feeling I seldom get from nonfiction. This is a fascinating story, sometimes thrilling, sometimes sad, about an important period in our history.

Related Posts

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

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4 thoughts on “Day 815: No Ordinary Time

    • whatmeread December 5, 2015 / 9:57 am

      Perhaps, but I still liked both of them most of the time. I have always admired Eleanor, and it wasn’t until I read this that I thought, maybe she would be a pain sometimes, but still admirable, as earnest people can be. I guess I’d rather know about people as they really were.

      • Naomi December 5, 2015 / 10:45 am

        I was mostly thinking of their marriage. I have always imagined them happy together. But, maybe they still were.

      • whatmeread December 7, 2015 / 7:23 am

        In a different sort of way.

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