No Ordinary Time

  • by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Narrated by Nelson Runger
  • 39 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize Winner, History, 1995
No Ordinary Time describes how the isolationist and divided United States of 1940 was unified under the extraordinary leadership of Franklin Roosevelt to become the preeminent economic and military power in the world.
Using diaries, interviews, and White House records of the president's and first lady's comings and goings, Goodwin paints an intimate portrait of the daily conduct of the presidency during wartime and the Roosevelts' extraordinary constellation of friends, advisers, and family.
Bringing to bear the tools of both history and biography, No Ordinary Time relates the unique story of how Franklin Roosevelt led the nation to victory against seemingly insurmountable odds and, with Eleanor's essential help, forever changed the fabric of American society.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great at 1.5 speed

What about Nelson Runger’s performance did you like?

I liked the voice alright. However, I think 10 hours of the 40 hour book were the narrator's pauses between sentences. I listened at 1 and a half speed and loved it then.


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- Brett

Fascinating, But Could Have Been Shortened

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are among the most remarkable people in the 20th century world, and the roles they played out during his 12 years in the White House is an incredible story.

This book focuses on the period from May 1940 to FDR's death, and details (and I do mean DETAILS) the day to day activities of the President and First Lady over that period... not every day by any means, but Goodwin has thoroughly presented both the public and private lives and what everyone said about most everything it seems. My only quibble is that, at times, I felt like there was just too much information about who said what to whom and about whom. Now it can be argued that the Roosevelts had so many important relationships that it was necessary to present all of these for context, and I get that. After all, the White House was like a rooming house during their presidency, with many people from outside of the family living there, and so there were lots of relationships. All of this makes for a very long book.

That quibble aside, the story is what it is, a story of two very exceptional people who had a flawed relationship (at least in terms of what we traditionally expect marriage to be). Goodwin shows us both the good and the bad, and at times I found myself admring FDR and Eleanor, at times I found myself pitying them, and at time I found myself irritated at them for their obvious foibles.

But the real value of this book seems to be in the documentation of the times, and the amazing story of America's movement from isolation to combatant in World War II, and the incredible transformation this movement caused in American society. As I read this book and its story of opportunities for women and for blacks, I found myself eager to talk to my dad about his work as a WAC recruiter early in the war, and in so doing, heard personal stories from he and my mom about their life during the war (they were married in October 1942). I probably would never have heard those stories if not for this book, so I am so grateful.

I recently read Churchill's World War II memoirs, so this was a fitting follow-up to that story, and as a result of this combination, I believe I now understand much more both about the War, and about the various political influences at work during that era, and the realization that if Roosevelt and Churchill had not been in the places they were during that war, I wonder how different the world would be today. (Different bad, not different good.)
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- Byron

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-04-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio