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More than fifty years after her death, Eleanor Roosevelt is remembered as a formidable first lady and tireless social activist. Often overlooked, however, is her deep and inclusive spirituality. Her personal faith was shaped by reading the New Testament in her youth, giving her a Jesus-centered spirituality that fueled her commitment to civil rights, women s rights, and th More than fifty years after her death, Eleanor Roosevelt is remembered as a formidable first lady and tireless social activist. Often overlooked, however, is her deep and inclusive spirituality. Her personal faith was shaped by reading the New Testament in her youth, giving her a Jesus-centered spirituality that fueled her commitment to civil rights, women s rights, and the rights of all little people marginalized in American society. She took seriously Jesus words and despite her life of privilege, she made the needs of those on the margins her priority. "Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography" provides insight into one of America's most famous women, particularly the spiritual influences that made her so active in social justice issues.


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More than fifty years after her death, Eleanor Roosevelt is remembered as a formidable first lady and tireless social activist. Often overlooked, however, is her deep and inclusive spirituality. Her personal faith was shaped by reading the New Testament in her youth, giving her a Jesus-centered spirituality that fueled her commitment to civil rights, women s rights, and th More than fifty years after her death, Eleanor Roosevelt is remembered as a formidable first lady and tireless social activist. Often overlooked, however, is her deep and inclusive spirituality. Her personal faith was shaped by reading the New Testament in her youth, giving her a Jesus-centered spirituality that fueled her commitment to civil rights, women s rights, and the rights of all little people marginalized in American society. She took seriously Jesus words and despite her life of privilege, she made the needs of those on the margins her priority. "Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography" provides insight into one of America's most famous women, particularly the spiritual influences that made her so active in social justice issues.

30 review for Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman

  1. 4 out of 5

    Navi

    This is the first biography I have read about Eleanor Roosevelt and it will most certainly not be the last. It was a great introduction to the life of a prominent and influential figure of the twentieth century. Eleanor Roosevelt left a lasting impression on everything she was involved with, including politics, diplomacy, activism and humanitarian causes. The fact that this remains her legacy, more so than serving as the First Lady, makes for a very impressive resume! The author argues that Elean This is the first biography I have read about Eleanor Roosevelt and it will most certainly not be the last. It was a great introduction to the life of a prominent and influential figure of the twentieth century. Eleanor Roosevelt left a lasting impression on everything she was involved with, including politics, diplomacy, activism and humanitarian causes. The fact that this remains her legacy, more so than serving as the First Lady, makes for a very impressive resume! The author argues that Eleanor’s spirituality and faith played a vital role in helping to frame her worldview. We see Eleanor at various stages of her life, from childhood, adulthood and ultimately her death. The reader is introduced to Eleanor through moments, interactions and snapshots. This is where the text really shines. I thoroughly enjoyed reading snippets of conversations that Eleanor had with different individuals throughout her life. They helped to paint a vivid picture of who Eleanor was on a human level. The only drawback I have is that there are a few times in the text where the author goes beyond the facts to provide personal conjectures. Thanks to Westminster John Knox Press and NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This is an amazing biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. I had no idea she was so far ahead of her time and was such a civil rights leader! Very readable and enjoyable.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Kidwell

    I find Eleanor Roosevelt a fascinating, if ignatmic figure. If nothing else, she was Franklin’s equal; if not his superior. Until I read Eleanor: a Spiritual Biography Biography, I did not appreciate her depth. Her grasp of the “unseen” was stunning and humbling. Now I understand the well from which she drew her phenomenal strength.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    The book is very readable and starts off strong. The author presents an interesting perspective on how Eleanor Roosevelt's faith drove her decisions and her advocacy. However, there's a fair bit of conjecture ('Eleanor might have thought', 'it may have been what led her to...').

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Well-researched, well-written, thought-provoking, educational ... I loved everything about this book (the only thing missing was photographs!)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    Eleanor Roosevelt not only was the longest serving First Lady, with the exception of HIllary Clinton, she is surely the most influential First Lady in American History. Not only was she a powerful political figure, but she was deeply spiritual in her orientation. A life-long Episcopalian, she would come to believe that faith without works is dead, that Micah's call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with one's God stood at the heart of the Christian faith. While she was a committed Chris Eleanor Roosevelt not only was the longest serving First Lady, with the exception of HIllary Clinton, she is surely the most influential First Lady in American History. Not only was she a powerful political figure, but she was deeply spiritual in her orientation. A life-long Episcopalian, she would come to believe that faith without works is dead, that Micah's call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with one's God stood at the heart of the Christian faith. While she was a committed Christian (of a liberal variety), she came to respect other religious traditions, believing that everyone had the right to practice their religion as they so chose. This biography, written by Harold Ivan Smith, invites us into Mrs. Roosevelt's spiritual life, so we might understand what motivated her. Smith is a bereavement specialist who has written on spirituality. Though he is neither a historian nor a biographer, he shows a genuine interest in the subject and reveals a fully developed portrait of her. The person we encounter is a person of deep faith, who understood that this faith should give evidence of itself through service to the least of these. In the introduction, Smith writes that "Eleanor's spirituality was not an abstract notion but a reality explored, lived, and celebrated. To her, all things, all, are the beloved children of God" (p. 5). He political instincts, and she was a liberal/progressive Democrat, much more pronounced so than her husband, the President, were strong and deep, but connected to her faith. Smith begins the biography with a chapter that paraphrases the title of an article that she wrote in 1932 for the magazine "Forum." It was titled "What Religion Means to Me." Her definition is revealing: "It means that belief and that faith in the heart of a man which makes him try to live his life according tot he highest standard which he is able to visualize. To those of us who were brought up as Christians that standard is the life of Christ" (p. 8). In other words, she embraced orthopraxis over orthodoxy. During her lifetime she was very open her open about her faith, but her vision of the Christian faith didn't fit well with more conservative Christians who often criticized her, accusing her of not being a Christian. She, on the other hand, was not shy about challenging people who claimed to be Christians, but who expressed antisemitic sentiments or were racist. Thus, unlike FDR, who built a coalition of northern liberals and southern segregationists, she could not overlook the racism of his coalition partners. While she emphasized orthopraxis, she could without problem affirm the creeds she learned as a child, growing up i the Episcopal Church of her family. She not only knew the creeds, but the Bible as well, having memorized the New Testament in French as a child. Chapter two of this book will be difficult to read. It details a horrific childhood, one marred by the early death of her parents, her inability to please her mother, and then life under the cruel and narrow rule of a controlling grandmother who received custody of her after the death of her parents. It was in the home of her Grandmother, a fundamentalist Episcopalian, that she had the Christian faith embedded in her. She learned the prayers of the Book of Common Prayer, which would stay with her the remainder of h er life. Much occurred in childhood that both scarred and formed her. Things got better during adolescence, as she was sent to England to study at Allenswood School, which was run by Mlle. Marie Souvestre, a progressive educator, who recognized both the scars inflicted on her by family, and her potential. There, she got to travel and grow into a thoughtful young woman. While Souvestre was an atheist she didn't douse her faith, but instead challenged her to examine her faith. That faith blossomed as she examined it. While the book follows a chronological order, to a degree, Smith takes us forward in a somewhat topical way. Thus, chapter four explores her theology. What emerged over time was a progressive form of Episcopal theology. Her faith was ecumenical. She read scripture, and sought to interpret it contextually, recognizing the value of science as a conversation partner. She understood that one could find great comfort guidance in Scripture, but also defend racism and discrimination with its words. She looked to prayer to strengthen her in life, especially as she faced innumerable challenges, including an unfaithful husband. Yes, we learn about FDR's affairs, and the effect they had on their marriage. They remained married, in part because of a recognition that in that day divorce had devastating implications. Then, there was his polio. In the end, they made a truce of sorts, that gave her permission to follow her heart where it led, and that often led to advocacy on behalf of those on the margins. She got pulled into politics, not because she pursued it, but because she became FDR's standin. She also was very effective as a political spokesperson, working not only for her husband but others, including Al Smith. Prior to Eleanor, most First Ladies stayed in the background, hosting teas and such. But that wasn't Eleanor. Though a reluctant First Lady, she discovered a way of using that position to benefit others. We learn in the course of the book, that Eleanor traveled widely, engaging those who were struggling, seeing realities that FDR could only learn about through the stories of others. As First Lady she began two columns, one called "My Day," which she used to speak to the issues of the day, and share her progressive faith. For her column for the Ladies Home Journal "If You Ask Me," she invited her readers, mostly women, to write to her, and she found ways of responding, sometimes by pushing FDR and other administration members to act. Two of the most powerful chapters speak to her involvement in advocating for Jewish Refugees, both before and during World War II. Though she struggled with her own antisemitism, ingrained in her by her cultural context, she became a strong advocate for refugees, often causing great discomfort on the part of administration leaders, many of whom were virulently antisemitic. She confronted this antisemitism, serving as voice to those who could not give voice to their concerns. This is a heartbreaking story, but we see in it a powerful sense of justice emerging in her. Both guilt at feeling she didn't do enough, and due to relationships, she became a strong advocate for a Jewish State, and after appointment by Harry Truman, as a delegate to the UN, she committed herself to human rights. She was horrified by what she found in refugee camps, which essentially continued the Nazi practice of concentration camps -- placing Jewish survivors in prison-like conditions. She was also a strong advocate for Civil Rights, as seen in her support for the Tuskegee Airmen, that included going up with an African American pilot, to send the message of support to detractors. She was an early and outspoken advocate of ending segregation (and the use of the Bible to defend it). She gave her support to the NAACP and other Civil Rights leaders, eventually becoming a friend of Martin Luther King. So, while FDR was willing to overlook the segregationist views of some of his partners, she wasn't. As with the chapter on Jewish refugees and anti-semitism, this is a powerful chapter. There is a chapter on her views of religious diversity. She wasn't opposed to Bible reading and prayer in school (remember she was active before the Supreme Court ruling on school prayer), but she also demanded respect for all faith traditions. It was her sense that the United States was a Christian country that she spoke out so vigorously against people like Joseph McCarthy, pointing out that Jesus wasn't a capitalist. She wrote in her "My Day" column in 1953, "I seem to remember in a book that many of us revere . . . a story about the young man who asked the Master how he could be saved and that the answer was 'Give all your worldly goods to the poor.' Is taht story looked on as Communist today?" (p. 167). Then, through her involvement with the United Nations, she came into contact with many other faith traditions, and recognized the wisdom to be found in them. Eleanor Roosevelt had an active post-White House life, continuing to remain active almost to the end, pushing herself to remain engaged. She wouldn't slow down, even after illness sapped her strength in her closing years. In many ways the death of FDR freed her to become fully her own person. No longer in the President's shadow, she became a powerful force, for good. Smith does a very good job telling her story, bringing a connection of faith and action. I've not read other biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt, so I can't compare them. What I appreciate here is that Smith is able to keep faith at the center of the conversation. In the closing chapter, which focuses on her legacy, he asks the question of whether she was a saint. He notes that she wouldn't have wanted that designation for herself, but none other than H. Richard Niebuhr, applied that title to her. I don't know whether it fits completely, but in reading this I have discovered a person to admire, a person to emulate. She was not afraid to speak her mind. Although she had the blessings of wealth, she put herself in a position to truly know the concerns of those who often were ignored by people of her station. We can thank the author for telling her story, and to WJK Press for bringing it to print.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman, by author Harold Ivan Smith is filled with historical accounts of the great Eleanor Roosevelt. The author has noted interviews and taken written documentation and public records of the words and actions of a remarkable first lady. I have long appreciated the tireless work of Eleanor Roosevelt for the under-privileged poor and the civil rights of all people. I admire her staying true to her beliefs in the face Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman, by author Harold Ivan Smith is filled with historical accounts of the great Eleanor Roosevelt. The author has noted interviews and taken written documentation and public records of the words and actions of a remarkable first lady. I have long appreciated the tireless work of Eleanor Roosevelt for the under-privileged poor and the civil rights of all people. I admire her staying true to her beliefs in the face of a public who sometimes did not appreciate her intelligence and spiritual heart of compassion for people. Eleanor was a major influence in promoting the arts and education for all people during the time of economic distress. Eleanor championed for men and women in the workforce and in the civil rights as a whole. I enjoyed reading this biography written by Dr. Smith, but am also disappointed in some statements I feel overstepped his authority as a writer. I cringed within myself each of the many times the author wrote “Eleanor would have…” in reference to events, public response, laws, and private actions. As a reader, I felt the author did not have the authority to publish what Eleanor would do in different situations. Why would he do this? Was it to influence readers of his own personal beliefs and to influence the public toward a certain philosophy or belief? Eleanor showed through her actions and words that some of her feelings and beliefs toward certain rights and freedoms did evolve and change during the course of her life. An example is her reluctance to believe the plight of the Jewish people and her sometimes seemingly prejudice. Later in her life Eleanor knew she needed support from Jewish leaders to be successful to meet certain goals she had set concerning legislation and law for the public. In this current age of insecurity among the races in the United States, I felt the author moved from Eleanor’s Faith and spiritual life to making the focus of the book more toward civil rights and possibly further inflame a tenuous racial public. This is regretful because the premise of the tribute to Eleanor was so much more than condemning the southern people for the same actions which were happening in some northern states but did not receive as much press or media attention. Her personal friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr made a statement referring to confronting worse racism in Chicago than he ever encountered in Mississippi. Even Malcom X had written that the conditions experienced by Black people in Northern ghettos rivaled the conditions faced by African Americans in the South. The title of this book is “Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman”. Her faith and Christian beliefs and charity is admirable. The compassion Eleanor showed in action for others was heartfelt. Her voice to the public for a time in America’s history is iconic! Her tribute as written in this book became a bit lost.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Hassig

    This is one of the books I read for the United Methodist Women's reading program. While I didn't agree with everything Eleanor Roosevelt stood for I did agree with a lot of it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I had high hopes for this book: Eleanor Roosevelt was a fascinating woman, and I was so intrigued to discover more about her. Instead, this book felt like a patchwork of other works, interviews, the author’s musings, and had the overall impression of a poorly made textbook. The history is interesting, but this book lost my interest and was very difficult to read: it did little justice to Eleanor.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    UMW 2019 Leadership Development. I'm really glad this was on the United Methodist Women recommended reading list. I expected it to be dry reading; I enjoyed the insights into such a famous woman! Pg. 204. I liked the quote from her 1st published book (1933), It's Up to the Women - "I think we shall have fulfilled our mission...if we never saw a wrong without trying to right it; we never intentionally left unhappiness where a little effort would have turned it into happiness, and we were more cri UMW 2019 Leadership Development. I'm really glad this was on the United Methodist Women recommended reading list. I expected it to be dry reading; I enjoyed the insights into such a famous woman! Pg. 204. I liked the quote from her 1st published book (1933), It's Up to the Women - "I think we shall have fulfilled our mission...if we never saw a wrong without trying to right it; we never intentionally left unhappiness where a little effort would have turned it into happiness, and we were more critical of ourselves than we were of others." Pg. 1 Segration in 1938 Birmingham AL - "any white person --even the First Lady -- who even attempted to sit on the wrong side of the aisle"... Pg. 2 "By end.., First Lady sat in the middle of the aisle between "white only" and Negro only" sections. I didn't realize she had such a tough childhood. Pg. 29 "curious barrier between mywself and 3 brother & mother)... They called the "introverted, painfully shy, and gawkily tall" child their "ugly duckling". Pg, 31 Gma Hall did not permit children to attend their mother's funeral; she kept Eleanor from seeing headlines "Mrs. Roosevelt's Death. Her Last Years Saddened by Her Husband's Insanity." Pg. 33 "how much alcohol.. to die at age 34 -- her father!" Pg, 34 "Eleanor named son after her father -- a troubled son who became her favorite." 5 years later Eleanor was finally sent to boarding school. Plenty of $$$ $7500/yr = $211,000 in 2016 dollars. Pg. 45 Allenwood - learned to socialize -- became most popular girl -- mentored by Mlle. Souvestre. Eleanor traveled Europe with Souvestre. Honeymoon went same places. Pg. 66 Eleanor was NOT Sara Roosevelt's choice for daughter-in-law. 1906, Sara built townhouse attached to hers w/ doors on each floor! PG. 67 babies 1906/07/09/10/14/16. Pg, 70 - St. Elizabeth's Hospital military mental health facility squalor! FDR and Lucy Mercer (1913) social secy and part-time nanny, Pg. 72 Eleanor offered divorce. Sara threatened to disinherit him if he divorced! FDR and children loved Lucy -- haunted last 27 years of marriage as well as early widowhood. Pg 76 FDR paralysis. Pg. 78 1924 FDR warm springs -- Missy LeHand as hostess and ? surrogate wife. Pg. 82 "FDR's obsession with walking -- freed Eleanor to... "serve as his legs, to go where he could not go. "... no longer expected to I've at home with her unfaithful spouse and his difficult mother and a houseful of children whom she loved but never seemed to feel entirely comfortable with." "Eleanor Pg. 83 from 1929 - 33 Eleanor spent Wed - Sunday at governor's mansion. Sun-Wed. caught train to NYC to teach American history & English lit. PG. 85 E. wanted "real job" ...(perhaps handling mail) -- can't>> intrude on Missy LeHand's turf! Franklin insisted she give up -- democratic Natl Comm, league of Women Voters, and Women's trade Union League And give up flying lessons! Pg. 93 FDR's 5 children = 19 marriages! PG. 99 Lonera Hickok suggested -- women-only press conferences and writing a syndicated newspaper column. Pg. 113 In governor's race, E. worked with Jewish women -- E's stereotypes were challenged and true friendships formed. Pg. 117 Joseph Kennedy Sr (1937-40) blamed Jews for bringing wrath down on their own heads. Pg. 120 Nazis 1 billion marks on Jews for property damage Nazi thugs wreaked. Roosevelt severed diplomatic relations with Germany; the US was the only nation to do so. Pg. 152 Eleanor served the United Nations. PG, 145 1933 Eleanor terminated the all-white White House staff and hired black replacements. FDR ordered 25% reduction in costs; E could pay black less.... PG. 149 11 assassination attempts on E before 1940. PG. 163 E. 1960s racial riots and treatment compared to what Nazis had done to Jews. Pg. 183 influence of prayers of Francis of Assisi.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Recently, I had the pleasure of being a recipient of the book, "Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman," by Harold Ivan Smith. As a long-time admirer of this great woman, and as someone that likes to read all sorts of genres, I was pleased to have read this book, and to be able to recommend it to you. Many of us may know some things about Mrs. Roosevelt, including her terrible early life, her difficult marriage to an almost iconic Franklin Delano Ro Recently, I had the pleasure of being a recipient of the book, "Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman," by Harold Ivan Smith. As a long-time admirer of this great woman, and as someone that likes to read all sorts of genres, I was pleased to have read this book, and to be able to recommend it to you. Many of us may know some things about Mrs. Roosevelt, including her terrible early life, her difficult marriage to an almost iconic Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the loss of one of her children in his infancy, and her activism for a number of social and political causes. One of the many things Mrs. Roosevelt worked through was her leanings toward anti-Antisemitism, a result of her life lessons as a child in a country where anti-Antisemitism was common. Many of her friends were Jewish, but Mrs. Roosevelt was someone that believed in having friends that she did not divide by class, race, religion or other factors. Throughout her life, Eleanor Roosevelt used her Christian faith, her Episcopalian faith and a stalwart belief in the rights of all humans to be treated equally to work for all people. These beliefs led her in the tireless work and monies she spent to support important causes of her time. Additionally, her work as an advocate for social change, as well as her support of the New Deal, Brown v. Board of Public Education, and for John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic and Democrat continued throughout her public life. Marian Anderson, an opera singer and African-American woman was very disrespectfully treated by the Daughters of the American Revolution and at Mrs. Roosevelt's behest, Ms. Anderson sang in front the Lincoln Memorial and the concert was broadcast across the country for ALL Americans to hear. Mrs. Roosevelt also withdrew her membership from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Throughout her life, her many travels, her columns and books, speeches, relationships and friendships, Eleanor Roosevelt used her faith to shape a better world for all of us. In this book, Harold Ivan Smith has given us a richly researched and deeply moving portrait of a woman that gave so much to the country of her birth, and the people of the world.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Terri Wangard

    Eleanor Roosevelt is known for her public activism and passion for human rights, championing the poor and oppressed. I had known vaguely of her work, but had no idea how extensive it was. In Eleanor, A Spiritual Biography, the author traces how she came by her religious faith and how it prompted her actions. What religion one belonged to didn’t matter as long as one practiced that religion. One of her great-grandsons became a Reconstructionist rabbi, and the author believes that would have please Eleanor Roosevelt is known for her public activism and passion for human rights, championing the poor and oppressed. I had known vaguely of her work, but had no idea how extensive it was. In Eleanor, A Spiritual Biography, the author traces how she came by her religious faith and how it prompted her actions. What religion one belonged to didn’t matter as long as one practiced that religion. One of her great-grandsons became a Reconstructionist rabbi, and the author believes that would have pleased her. During World War II, she harbored prejudice against Jews, writing to a friend in Germany, “I realized quite well that there may be a need for curtailing the ascendancy of the Jewish people.” Many close friends were Jewish.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue Jackson

    I was very pleasantly surprised to read about Eleanor Roosevelt. She was far more influential and outspoken than I recalled regarding the rights of women, Jews, blacks, children and so much more. She stood strong in her beliefs not only as a Christian but also as a human. Because of her strong beliefs, she often went against what was the common view of the time. What is amazing is that she spoke out while being limited as a President's wife and then widow during a time that women were not listen I was very pleasantly surprised to read about Eleanor Roosevelt. She was far more influential and outspoken than I recalled regarding the rights of women, Jews, blacks, children and so much more. She stood strong in her beliefs not only as a Christian but also as a human. Because of her strong beliefs, she often went against what was the common view of the time. What is amazing is that she spoke out while being limited as a President's wife and then widow during a time that women were not listened to and certainly not respected There were times in this book that I felt the author projected what Eleanor would have done without actual facts. Still overall, this book highlights her strength, her faith, and her desire for social justice. She was a strong woman and an advocate for fairness for her entire life. This book also hit a nerve because of the political climate we currently live in and her quote from her 1933 book is wonderful: "I think we shall have fulfilled out mission well if when our time comes to give up active work in the world we can say we never saw a wrong without trying to right it; we never intentionally left unhappiness where a little effort would have turned it into happiness, and we were more critical of ourselves than we were of others". I am now motivated to read more about Eleanor.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Faith Flaherty

    Book Club's choice for this month is "Eleanor A Spiritual Biography The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman", by Harold Ivan Smith. I had difficulty in procuring this book through the Minuteman Library System. There was only one book circulating but I did sign up. The Sails Library System had none. Amazon wanted $ 17.00 and the Kindle version is $ 16.00. But what if I don't like it. I've wasted $ 17-16! I decided I wasn't going to bother. When the book club discussion came around, Book Club's choice for this month is "Eleanor A Spiritual Biography The Faith of the 20th Century's Most Influential Woman", by Harold Ivan Smith. I had difficulty in procuring this book through the Minuteman Library System. There was only one book circulating but I did sign up. The Sails Library System had none. Amazon wanted $ 17.00 and the Kindle version is $ 16.00. But what if I don't like it. I've wasted $ 17-16! I decided I wasn't going to bother. When the book club discussion came around, I was going to offer the suggestion that we check the availability of our book suggestions. Then I got an email saying the library had my book! It is a noteworthy book. Well written, well researched and easy to read. Eleanor was a Christian woman and followed Christ throughout her life. She had a miserable childhood. But she was introduced to Jesus and was shaped by His teachings. Even when she married, her mother-in-law could and sometimes did, make life uncomfortable but she trusted that God had a plan and she trusted Him. Then when Franklin became president she blossomed. She became his legs and muse. She wrote a syndicated newspaper column and magazine articles. After being First Lady she became our ambassador to the United Nations. Many criticized but she rose above the fray. She was her own person, a child of God. Thanks be to God.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    On every page of this book, I learned new things about Eleanor Roosevelt and her faith, and I felt inspired to exercise my faith more. A vibrant, tireless woman, she demonstrated her belief that faith without works is dead. Despite childhood abuse, her husband's infidelity and grief, Eleanor addressed meaningful issues and current events without backing down or refusing to be silenced by her critics. Her husband and others backed down because of political pressure or the need to get reelected, b On every page of this book, I learned new things about Eleanor Roosevelt and her faith, and I felt inspired to exercise my faith more. A vibrant, tireless woman, she demonstrated her belief that faith without works is dead. Despite childhood abuse, her husband's infidelity and grief, Eleanor addressed meaningful issues and current events without backing down or refusing to be silenced by her critics. Her husband and others backed down because of political pressure or the need to get reelected, but she remained firm in her beliefs and activism, exercising a muscular Christianity until she died. I highly recommend this book for Christians, politicians, history lovers, and anyone who needs a reminder that loving God requires us to love others, too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pat Jorgenson Waterchilde

    An inspirational read about an influential woman who lived her faith and changed the world. We know of Eleanor Roosevelt and her many ways she influenced and spoke out against abuses in the world. Harold Smith highlights the many ways she lived and worked through her beliefs, her prayers and her understanding of Biblical teachings. Her outspoken manner challenged many. Although not perfect, she strived to be a voice to those who suffered and struggled in an often times an unjust world. Well writt An inspirational read about an influential woman who lived her faith and changed the world. We know of Eleanor Roosevelt and her many ways she influenced and spoke out against abuses in the world. Harold Smith highlights the many ways she lived and worked through her beliefs, her prayers and her understanding of Biblical teachings. Her outspoken manner challenged many. Although not perfect, she strived to be a voice to those who suffered and struggled in an often times an unjust world. Well written and researched, Eleanor Roosevelt is an inspiration to us all.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a must read if you want to be inspired by a woman of faith and action. I absolutely loved learning more about her and all that she did to help people from all walks of life and am more motivated than ever to follow my heart to help others in whatever way I feel led regardless of criticism I might receive over it. If you want to be a better leader and a person of action (man or woman), read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Well, if this was my copy I would have a lot of quotes highlighted. Harold Ivan Smith created a wonderful biography of a great lady. I am so encouraged by her example of life lived for others. Having lived such a life of trauma at an early age and becoming such a crusader for children, women, marginalized people as well as refugees, civil rights and the United Nations, she set a get legacy for many to follow.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    This was not a book I would have picked up to read but was read as part of a UMW book club offering. When I think of Eleanor Roosevelt I think of the active role she led as First Lady. This book shows how Eleanor's religious upbringing and ongoing faith transformed the pain from her terrible, lonely childhood and betrayals by her husband and others she trusted into great empathy and a drive to make a difference in the world.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Eleanor Roosevelt’s life story is remarkable but I’m afraid this telling is not. This book is a patchwork of quotes and paraphrases from more notable biographies by Doris Kearns Goodwin and Ken Burns. The author lost his creditably with me when he interjected himself into the narrative using the first person “I” and conjecturing what Eleanor was “probably thinking.” Three stars out of the respect for the author whom I feel had good intentions in writing this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carol Carmichael

    One of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. Eleanor Roosevelt was a woman before her time in a lot of ways, yet she left her mark on our country and the world. I have read other books by or about her, but in this biography the author truly sees her essence. She was a remarkable woman, and this is without a doubt a remarkable biography.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ann Otto

    The book provides a good way to understand the philosophy behind the social influence and strength of this 20th century leader. Although little new is learned about her life story, the research on her early religion and the reasons behind her religious tolerance is helpful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    An admirable, maligned woman, sustained by a strong faith in the face of fierce, brutal criticism. Her faith kept her focused. She was a powerful advocate for the powerless. The niece of a President and the wife of a President.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    excellently written she is an inspiration her model would be hard to obtain this book and her beliefs brought much reality to the social problems of that Era that continue to echo with us today as a culture we have accomplished so much but we have so much more to do

  25. 4 out of 5

    Yolanda Toney

    One of the Best It was one of the most moving accounts of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s life that I have ever read. The details of her early life lent a greater understanding and appreciation of who she was and how in spite of numerous barriers she not just survived but thrived.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    An important book about an important woman. Includes important information but is somewhat plodding in many places.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Auwae-Lapilio

    A terrific human.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lenorek

    Great insight

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    If you want insight into the heart and soul of Eleanor Roosevelt, read this book! A woman ahead of her time and an example of what it means to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Lennon

    Very interesting perspective on how faith ingluenced actions.

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