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.
... both compelling and comprehensive, making use of previously untapped archival sources and interviews ... a fast-moving, engrossing narrative ... Michaelis never neglects the politics and history that marked the life of this remarkable, fascinating woman. At the same time, his impeccable storytelling and seamless integration of dialogue and quotations allow him to create an intimate, lively and emotional portrait that unfolds like a good novel. The book is also meticulously sourced, with nearly 100 pages of notes and a 30-page bibliography that’s of interest to historians as well as general readers ... One of the pleasures of this biography is Michaelis’ firm grasp of the material and his ability to sprinkle the text with anecdotes and tidbits that capture Roosevelt’s personality, complex private relationships and public accomplishments ... As America faces another challenging period in its history, there may be no better time for readers to turn to the life of one of our nation’s truly great leaders for inspiration.