No Ordinary Time

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. Read by Edward Hermann. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Reason read: Franklin married his fifth cousin in March. I read this to celebrate their unique and extraordinary relationship.

This is a quick read. In  a nutshell, it’s a condensed biography of Franklin, Eleanor, their marriage, and life at home during World War II. The biographies of Franklin and Eleanor are not anything new. If you have read even one other biography of the couple you’ll find all the details worth mentioning are the same. Considering Eleanor destroyed most of her correspondences it would be difficult for a biographer to come up with anything astonishing and unheard of before. The biography of Franklin and Eleanor’s marriage is treated with respect and without judgment. We all know about the other women: Missy, Lorena, and Lucy. But it is the biography of World War II’s home front that makes No Ordinary Time a pleasure to read. I’ve always known women made sacrifices for the war effort; rationing and even going without certain materials. But, I admit I did not know about the girdle protest. Goodwin’s description of Eleanor protesting the inability to wear a girdle for “health” reasons was humorous and fascinating.

As an aside, the title of No Ordinary Time comes from a speech Eleanor Roosevelt made before the Democratic convention.

Author fact: Goodwin won the Pulitzer in history for No Ordinary Time.

Book trivia: No Ordinary Time is a combination of diaries, interviews and White House records.

Audio trivia: the introduction is read by the author. Very cool.

Narrator trivia: Edward Hermann’s list of accomplishments is long. He has acted in a bunch of movies including The Purple Rose of Cairo as well as television (The Practice and Gilmore Girls). I’ve never seen any of these productions and yet I recognize him. I guess he just has one of those faces voices.

Nancy said: Nancy includes this as an example of an outstanding one-volume biography.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Presidential Biographies” (p 195).

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