Michaelis presents a portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt, America's longest-serving First Lady, an avatar of democracy whose ever-expanding agency as diplomat, activist, and humanitarian made her one of the world's most widely admired and influential women.
... the first major single-volume biography in more than half a century, and a terrific resource for people who aren’t ready to tackle Blanche Wiesen Cook’s heroic three-volume work. At more than 700 pages it’s hardly a quick read, but it’s a great resource for people who don’t know a whole lot about her ... Eleanor’s own romantic life gets thorough treatment, given that much or all of it seemed to involve crushes rather than consummation.
Michaelis details innumerable stories of people and events in Eleanor’s life, from her years as the increasingly engaged first lady to her roles in Democratic Party politics to her work as a newspaper columnist and speaker after Franklin’s death in 1945 ... Much of Eleanor will be familiar to many readers, but Michaelis’s rendering is especially bright and a pleasure to read. Few other books reveal the fascinating inner journey that transformed Eleanor from an emotionally choked-off young woman into a mature leader who inspired millions.
... an excellent single-volume biography of America’s greatest first lady ... Nothing about Eleanor is staid or plodding. Michaelis, the author of wonderful biographies of Charles Schulz and N.C. Wyeth, writes beautiful nonfiction prose ... Wherever the intrepid Eleanor travels, Michaelis offers vivid descriptions of topography, wardrobe, weather conditions and societal moods as if an understudy for Charles Dickens. While Michaelis’s style is sometimes florid, his uncanny ability to nail down the atmospherics of a particular place and time with consummate grace is engaging ... The last chapters of Eleanor, when the Swiss physician David Gurewitsch enters the narrative as a love interest, are absolutely spellbinding.