No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
The life and times of Theodore Roosevelt has always been more interesting to me than Franklin Delano Roosevelt; in fact, I just recently finished reading a couple of book about TR, which included brief mentions of FDR and Eleanor. It was more curiosity about the family relationships between the two branches of Roosevelt’s that spurred me to look for a biography of FDR. I choose No Ordinary Time based solely on my appreciation for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s memoir, Wait Til Next Year. After having finished No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin is quickly becoming one of my favorite non-fiction authors.
No Ordinary Time is not strictly a biography of FDR, but more of an in-depth study of America during WWII. Yes, I learned a great deal about FDR and ER (Eleanor Roosevelt), both their marriage and their unique contributions to FDRs presidency, and it turns out that they are very interesting people about whom I now want to learn more. But I also learned about American economics, race relations, unions, the Depression, Big Business, Washington politics, Winston Churchill, Stalin, and so much more.
No Ordinary Time begins with Hitler’s May 10, 1940, invasion of Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium and France and ends with FDR’s death in April 1944. In those four years, the United States converts her economy from the still-lingering Great Depression stalled economy to a full-blown war production machine and moves from extreme isolationist to savior of the free world, guided by the master politician FDR.
One thing that amazed me throughout was the amount that both FDR and ER travelled internationally during the war. ER acted as FDR’s eyes and ears, traveling to the front lines of the war and reporting to FDR the results of his policies firsthand. And FDR travelled to meet with Stalin and Churchill throughout the war, refusing to allow his confinement to a wheelchair impede any area of his life.
If you have any interest in WWII and those who figured so prominently in the Free World’s fight against Hitler, or if your interest is in Washington politics, race relations in the 1940s, the growth of the armed forces, how domestic industry converted to supply armaments to Russia and Great Britain, the origins of the Lend-Lease Program, or the unique relationship that FDR & ER brought to Washington and the presidency, then I highly recommend you read No Ordinary Time. You won’t be disappointed.