Sunday, November 8, 2009

No Ordinary Time

Here she recounts the war years, 1940 through 1945, from the perspective of the American Presidency. She tells how Franklin Delano Roosevelt coaxed an isolationist, Depression-ridden nation first into supplying arms to England in that country's lonely battle against Nazi Germany and then into taking up arms itself, and how his command of the home front transformed the United States into a mighty industrial power.

At the same time, Mrs. Goodwin has something more intimate in mind than even our personal memories of the war years. She sets out to tell her history through the lives of the Roosevelts and those who occupied the White House with them at a time when that building functioned more as a dormitory for famous personages than the President's official residence. And the details of these people's passionate relations -- their friendships and loves, rivalries and jealousies -- are what make "No Ordinary Time" seem so fresh and alive.

Sounds like a good read.


  1. I'm all for sticking with this period for awhile since I know so little about it and because it so unbelievably relevant to what we are going through now. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  2. We can entertain other choices. I was just noting the book. But, of course, there is such material in the FDR years that one can spend quite a bit of time on it.

  3. Anytime. I still have a stack of those books to make my way through. I'm not as interested in the war, but this period in Schlesinger is incredible.

  4. I've been having problems with abebooks as of late and had to re-order this book through barnes and noble. For some odd reason, amazon won't ship used books to Lithuania. If I can afford it, I like picking up first edition hardbacks and this one cost me $12, about the same price as a new paperback. Waste less trees this way too. Anyway, sometime soon I should have the book.

  5. Although Alter just skips along the surface of their private lives, he does paint an intriguing picture of the two Roosevelts living in the White House. He with his secretaries, she with her private press corps.

    In the meantime, the country seemed to be collapsing all around them and no one knew exactly what to do about it. But Roosevelt appears to have had this sense of optimism that assured him that somehow he would figure it out. Fortunately he did.