Eleanor Roosevelt: An Inspiring Life


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Index
ISBN 1-55337-811-2
DDC j973.917'092





Reviewed by John R. Abbott

John Abbott is a professor of history at Laurentian University’s Algoma University College. He is the co-author of The Border at Sault Ste Marie and The History of Fort St. Joseph.


This is an admirable introduction to the life of Eleanor Roosevelt:
historically well grounded and written in an easy-flowing but
classically oriented prose style. Each page of text is matched with a
photo album, brilliant in the effectiveness of captions and the use of

Following the author’s introduction, readers are told of Eleanor’s
difficult, even dangerous, childhood followed by the redemptive
influence of Marie Souvestre, the French headmistress of the Allenswood
school for girls near London, England. They then follow Eleanor through
the period of friendship and courtship with FDR, their wedding, the
birth of their children, Franklin’s infidelity (which fixed her
orientation as an inner-directed, independent actor), his sudden onset
of polio, and her determination to do everything in her power to salvage
and advance his political aspirations and career. Eleanor’s
determination, discipline, and extraordinary talent take her into the
Democratic Party’s inner circles, just at a time when the challenge of
the Great Depression opened minds to the possibility of a “New
Deal,” not only, as it turned out, for the unemployed, but also for
women and African-Americans.

From the middle of the 1930s through World War II to the critical
contribution she made in shaping the mandate of the United Nations,
Eleanor Roosevelt championed civil, human, and women’s rights. This is
historical writing at its best. Highly recommended.


MacLeod, Elizabeth., “Eleanor Roosevelt: An Inspiring Life,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23035.