The War Years and After, 1939-1962
Join us for an evening of discussion with special guest
BLANCHE WIESEN COOK
Author and professor of history
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
6 p.m. | Reception
6:30 p.m. | Presentation
7:15 p.m. | Book Signing
Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza, Kaufman Center
New York, NY
UNA Members: FREE
UNA Student Members: FREE
Guests and Non-Members: $15
To honor the great legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt, we are pleased to host Blanche Wiesen Cook for our first BookTalk offering this year, to discuss the final volume in her definitive biography, ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: The War Years and After, 1939-1962.
Historians, politicians, critics, and readers everywhere have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook's biography of Eleanor Roosevelt as the essential portrait of a woman who towers over the twentieth century. This long-awaited third and final volume takes us through World War II, FDR's death, the founding of the UN, and Eleanor Roosevelt's death in 1962.
Cook's narrative follows the arc of war and the evolution of a marriage, as the first lady realized the cost of maintaining her principles even as the country and her husband were not prepared to adopt them. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to struggle for her core issues — economic security, New Deal reforms, racial equality, and rescue — when they were sidelined by FDR while he marshaled the country through war. The chasm between Eleanor and Franklin grew, and the strains on their relationship were as political as they were personal.
Eleanor also had to negotiate the fractures in the close circle of influential women around her, but through it she gained confidence in her own vision, even when forced to amend her agenda when her beliefs clashed with government policies on such issues as neutrality, refugees, and eventually the threat of communism. These years—the war years—made Eleanor Roosevelt the woman she became: leader, visionary, guiding light. FDR's death in 1945 changed her world, but she was far from finished, returning to the spotlight as a crucial player in the founding of the United Nations.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the most important and powerful First Lady until Hillary Clinton — and she faced (and sometimes stumbled over) many issues that plague us still today. This biography is a sympathetic but unblinking portrait of a marriage and of a woman whose passion and commitment has inspired generations of Americans to seek a decent future for all people. Modest and self-deprecating, a moral force in a turbulent world, Roosevelt was unique — and we invite you to join us tonight to hear Blanche Wiesen Cook tell us how, while demonstrating that Eleanor is also a woman for our time.
One of the New York Times's 100 Notable Books of 2016
One of NPR's 10 Best Books of 2016
PRAISE FROM THE REVIEWS
"Heartachingly relevant…the Eleanor Roosevelt who inhabits these meticulously crafted pages transcends both first-lady history and the marriage around which Roosevelt scholarship has traditionally pivoted." The Wall Street Journal
"A monumental biography [and] an exhilarating story, as well as undeniably melancholy one. In her relentless efforts to push American democracy to fulfill its promises, Eleanor Roosevelt was ahead of her time. . . . It's not at all clear that we have yet caught up to her." Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air/NPR
"Monumental and inspirational . . . Cook skillfully narrates the epic history of the war years. . . . It's a tribute to Cook's rich portrait that after three enormous volumes I still wanted to know more." The New York Times Book Review
"Reads like the great history that it is." San Francisco Chronicle
"Outstanding . . . A winning concluding volume in a series that does for Eleanor Roosevelt what Robert Caro has done for Lyndon Johnson." Kirkus Reviews
"Magisterial . . . Cook captures the headlong energy of those years perfectly. Readers will encounter in these pages an intimate, touchingly human Eleanor Roosevelt—an icon they can both admire and genuinely like." Christian Science Monitor
"Superb. . . Cook skillfully weaves her subject's active and emotional life among friends and family members into the depiction of her public role." Publishers Weekly
"Highly readable and richly detailed…Cook succeeds in demonstrating how Eleanor's political ideas regarding human rights, economic insecurity, and the plight of refugees echo today." Library Journal
Blanche Wiesen Cook is Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is senior editor of the Garland Library of War and Peace, author of a three-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt (available from Viking and Penguin), Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution and The Declassified Eisenhower. Cook is a former vice-president for research at the American Historical Association.
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