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Eleanor in the Village

By: Jan Jarboe Russell
Narrated by: Samantha Desz
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Summary

A “riveting and enlightening account” (Bookreporter) of a mostly unknown chapter in the life of Eleanor Roosevelt - when she moved to New York’s Greenwich Village, shed her high-born conformity, and became the progressive leader who pushed for change as America’s First Lady.

Hundreds of books have been written about FDR and Eleanor, both together and separately, but yet she remains a compelling and elusive figure. And, not much is known about why in 1920, Eleanor suddenly abandoned her duties as a mother of five and moved to Greenwich Village, then the symbol of all forms of transgressive freedom - communism, homosexuality, interracial relationships, and subversive political activity. Now, in this “immersive...original look at an iconic figure of American politics” (Publishers Weekly), Jan Russell pulls back the curtain on Eleanor’s life to reveal the motivations and desires that drew her to the Village and how her time there changed her political outlook.

A captivating blend of personal history detailing Eleanor’s struggle with issues of marriage, motherhood, financial independence, and femininity, and a vibrant portrait of one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world, this unique work examines the ways that the sensibility, mood, and various inhabitants of the neighborhood influenced the First Lady’s perception of herself and shaped her political views over four decades, up to her death in 1962.

When Eleanor moved there, the Village was a zone of Bohemians, misfits, and artists, but there was also freedom there, a miniature society where personal idiosyncrasy could flourish. Eleanor joined the cohort of what then was called “The New Women” in Greenwich Village. Unlike the flappers in the 1920s, the New Women had a much more serious agenda, organizing for social change - unions for workers, equal pay, protection for child workers - and they insisted on their own sexual freedom. These women often disagreed about politics - some, like Eleanor, were Democrats, others Republicans, Socialists, and Communists. Even after moving into the White House, Eleanor retained connections to the Village, ultimately purchasing an apartment in Washington Square where she lived during World War II and in the aftermath of Roosevelt’s death in 1945.

Including the major historical moments that served as a backdrop for Eleanor’s time in the Village, this remarkable work offers new insights into Eleanor’s transformation - emotionally, politically, and sexually - and provides us with the missing chapter in an extraordinary life.

©2021 Jan Jarboe Russell. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

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Eleanor the Great

Lovely book with a narrator who fits it like a glove. Fascinating insights into her politics, relationships and the flow of her life. FDR & the US didn't deserve her but she was important to both. I thought J Edgar Hoover was a contemptible cretin before listening to this book. I'm now of the opinion that he was an anti-social, hypocritical criminal who blackmailed his way to tenure of office 30 years after he should have been sacked & jailed.

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  • Amanda Hodges
  • 13-05-21

Grabs your attention

Great book overall, loved it! Fascinating and full of details! You will not be able to put it down!

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  • Dave Aardappel
  • 16-08-21

A must read/listen


Eleanor Roosevelt’s life is worth knowing as much now as when she was living it. A remarkable woman with remarkable intelligence and strength. A liberal after my own heart…

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  • Jamie Buttram
  • 01-07-21

Amazing. read

well written! what a remarkable woman.. she fought tge fight we are still fighting to overcone.