Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

  • by Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
  • 18 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Now back in print, a candid and insightful look at an era and a life through the eyes of one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century, First Lady and humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt.
The daughter of one of New York's most influential families, niece of Theodore Roosevelt, and wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt witnessed some of the most remarkable decades in modern history, as America transitioned from the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, and the Depression to World War II and the Cold War.
A champion of the downtrodden, Eleanor drew on her experience and used her role as First Lady to help those in need. Intimately involved in her husband's political life, from the governorship of New York to the White House, Eleanor eventually became a powerful force of her own, heading women's organizations and youth movements, and battling for consumer rights, civil rights, and improved housing. In the years after FDR's death she became a U.N. Delegate, chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, a newspaper columnist, Democratic party activist, world-traveler, and diplomat devoted to the ideas of liberty and human rights.
This single volume biography brings her to life through her own words, illuminating the vanished world she grew up, her life with her political husband, and the postwar years when she worked to broaden cooperation and understanding at home and abroad.

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Customer Reviews

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How Eleanor saw her world and life

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 and naive girl into a strong, independent woman. Watching this transformation is inspiring. You come to understand how and why she changes. You understand how she came to marry Franklin. You also understand the family she married into. This shaped her too.

Then you follow her years with Franklin. He establishes his career, becomes president and dies. How they influenced each other is covered, but historical events are skimmed over. This is not the book to pick if you want the details of Franklin’s political decisions or the war years. There are huge gaps in both historical events and personal relationships. This is an autobiography and clearly Eleanor is telling us what SHE wants said. There is no mention of either her own or her husband's extramarital relationships. It is not just the relationships that are lacking but also Eleanor’s support of Blacks and Jews is scarcely dealt with. I was disappointed that so very much was missing. I wanted to hear more about her efforts to coerce her husband into helping these groups. Oh, and it was strange how she spoke of her husband not as Franklin, but as “my husband”!

After the death of Franklin her role as a UN Delegate and Chairman of the Commission of Human Rights is meticulously covered, but here the writing sounded like a political speeches selling her views against the prevalent beliefs during the Cold War period. This section felt dated and extremely repetitive! I would mutter, "OK, here we go again.......another speech with the same message for the fifth, sixth time!" "Old truths" are proclaimed. This was the part of the book that was most thoroughly covered. She traveled all over the world speaking to political leaders. Much of this section reads as a travelogue recounting all the different places she visited. She worked as a columnist, a speaker and a radio correspondent. She never stopped working; the book follows her through her 75th year, as an activist and speaker of human rights. Her death, three years later, is not covered.

The audiobook is narrated by Tavia Gilbert. This narrator has a young voice, and it worked well for the young, naive Eleanor. As her self-assurance grows it felt more and more misplaced.
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- Chrissie

What a woman!

What did you love best about Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt?

A fascinating life, during a fascinating period of our recent history. Mrs Roosevelt was a woman well before her time.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Ummm, Eleanor Roosevelt.


What does Tavia Gilbert bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

At first I didn't love the narration. She seemed to exaggerate the last consonants of words and over-emphasised the pronunciation of the phrase "my husband", which made it feel like it was used twice in every sentence. However, the narration improved as the book progressed.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I found myself looking for tasks I could complete with ipod attached.


Any additional comments?

If you're looking for an insight into the personal relationships between Mrs Roosevelt and her children or FDR, you won't find it here. There is so mention of FDR's affairs, for example. Mind you, that wasn't what I was interested in anyway. I really enjoyed this book for its history, and for Mrs Roosevelts opinions and beliefs. If only there were people like her and FDR in public life today.

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- Margaret M. Bell "ravenousreader"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-21-2014
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books