In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the first lady with dread. By that time she had put her deep disappointment in her marriage behind her and developed an independent life - now threatened by the public role she would be forced to play. A lifeline came to her in the form of a feisty campaign reporter for the Associated Press: Lorena Hickok. Over the next 30 years, until Eleanor's death, the two women carried on an extraordinary relationship: They were, at different points, lovers, confidantes, professional advisors, and caring friends.
They couldn't have been more different. Eleanor had been raised in one of the nation's most powerful political families and was introduced to society as a debutante before marrying her distant cousin, Franklin. Hick, as she was known, had grown up poor in rural South Dakota and worked as a servant girl after she escaped an abusive home, eventually becoming one of the most respected reporters at the AP. Her admiration drew the buttoned-up Eleanor out of her shell, and the two quickly fell in love. For the next 13 years, Hick had her own room at the White House, next door to the first lady.
These fiercely compassionate women inspired each other to right the wrongs of the turbulent era in which they lived. During the Depression Hick reported from the nation's poorest areas for the WPA, and Eleanor used these reports to lobby her husband for New Deal programs. Hick encouraged Eleanor to turn their frequent letters into her popular and long-lasting syndicated column "My Day" and to befriend the female journalists who became her champions. When Eleanor's tenure as first lady ended with FDR's death, Hick pushed her to continue to use her popularity for good - advice Eleanor took by leading the UN's postwar Human Rights Commission. At every turn the bond these women shared was grounded in their determination to better their troubled world.
Deeply researched and told with great warmth, Eleanor and Hick is a vivid portrait of love and a revealing look at how an unlikely romance influenced some of the most consequential years in American history.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jean the Urban Walker on 03-02-17
An amazing story of amazing women making waves.
I love history, especially the behind the scenes stories that time tends to shove deep into the background. i found this story of Eleanor Roosevelt and how she became the World's First Lady to be deeply interesting, somewhat bittersweet and rather engrossing with E.R. the human. The circle of those around her greatly augmented the passions and vigor of her exterior persona... and perhaps gave creedence to the person within. Was it an affair of the heart? Personally, thats between E.R. and Hick. But the passion that it inspired with everything they did for the common good is proof of their love for humanity. And that is the core of this story. Hick being left on a shelf for 20 years, now that is a true moral issue. Wonderful story, deeply engrossing.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Francine Fields on 17-08-17
An Icon who was real.
As an African American woman, I have always admired Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. I was told she was an advocate for "Negro" and women rights. This depiction of her life enhances my view of this historical icon. She was a president wife, a mother, a friend, a lover, an a complex woman. This depiction of some of her life revealed that she was truly human, with attributes as well as faults.. if I coud invite a historical icon to dine with me, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt would be my choice.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful