Just as Franklin Delano Roosevelt is believed by many to have revolutionized the American presidency, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt wrought great changes on the role of First Lady. But unlike other women of her stature, she did not let her political career come to an end when her husband died in 1945. In this text, the author examines Eleanor Roosevelt's profound influence on the Democratic party and civil rights organizations during the 17 years of the life she led after her husbands death. It shows how Eleanor Roosevelt, after being freed from the constraints imposed on her by her role in the White House, eagerly expanded her career and unabashedly challenged both the Democratic party and American liberals to practice what they preached. While her progressive determination won her praise in some quarters, it also provoked venomous press attacks, and even assassination attempts. At one point, the Ku Klux Klan reportedly put a bounty on her head. Whether the issue was civil rights, opposing the House Un-American Activities Committee, defending Alger Hiss, or questioning John F.
Kennedy's character, Eleanor Roosevelt continually asserted that civil liberties and civil rights were the cornerstones of American democracy. This takes an unusual approach to the much-studied woman, synthesizing the political and the personal by viewing this courageous woman through the wide lens of political history rather than strict biography. Looking at Eleanor Roosevelt as the consummate liberal power broker, Black shows how she was a significant political player independent of FDR.
Written with verve and filled with new information, the issues discussed here are the most urgent issues of our time. . . . Everyone interested in the ongoing battles of the twentieth century, everyone concerned about women and power, biography and history, politics and the future, will want to read this book.