For 40 days, I am choosing a book from my personal book shelves. It will be a book that is insightful, intriguing, or illuminating about women. I will write why I think this book is a positive one and worth a read. This isn’t advertising for me or to promote any of my friends. It’s simply praise for good books.
Day 12, No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
I am stretching the boundaries of good books for women with this massive work covering “Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II” but it would impossible—for me—to write a list of positive anythings about women and leave out Eleanor Roosevelt. The second very good reason is that this book is the work of author, historian, and political analyst Doris Kearns Goodwin, herself a national treasure.
This ambitious but accessible work of historical nonfiction is as much an account of the machinations of the White House during trying years of war as it is an examination of a complex marriage. One chapter opens with a reporter asking Eleanor how the president thinks. Eleanor’s response was, “The President never thinks. He decides.” It’s a great quip, but imagine being married to that guy. Famous figures come and go. There are amusing anecdotes. Intimacy and distance are equal partners for the President and First Lady, but their mission for the good of the country never wavers. The toll of the war on the country, the weight of leadership of those in power, the weariness of the assistants, helpmates, wives, and friends are portrayed in detail that is sharp and fascinating. Goodwin writes in a steady but touching style that makes complicated meetings and moments seem vital and relevant in their historical context. Its size may be off-putting but it is never ponderous or dull. This book won the Pulitzer Prize and is a must-read for anyone interested in learning how a war and a presidency shaped the United States into modern America.
Why is No Ordinary Time a good read for women? Eleanor Roosevelt. Need I say more?