From the best-selling author of The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream comes a compelling chronicle of a nation and its leaders during the period when modern America was created. Presenting an aspect of American history that has never been fully told, Doris Kearns Goodwin writes a brilliant narrative account of how the United States of 1940, an isolationist country divided along class lines, still suffering the ravages of a decade-long depression and woefully unprepared for war, was unified by a common threat and by the extraordinary leadership of Franklin Roosevelt to become, only five years later, the preeminent economic and military power in the world. At the center of the country's transformation was the complex partnership of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Franklin's main objective from the war's onset was victory, and he knew the war could not be won without focusing the energies of the American people and expanding his base of support - making his peace with conservative leaders and gaining the cooperation of big business. Eleanor, meanwhile, felt the war would not be worth winning if the old order of things at home prevailed and was often at odds with her husband in her efforts to preserve the gains of the New Deal and achieve reforms in civil rights, housing, and welfare programs. While Franklin manned the war room at the White House and held meetings with Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Mackenzie King, and other world leaders to discuss strategy for the war abroad, Eleanor crisscrossed the country, visiting the American people, seeing how the war and policies her husband made in Washington affected them as individuals. Using diaries,interviews, and White House records of the president's and first lady's comings and goings, Goodwin paints a detailed, intimate portrait not only of the daily conduct of the presidency during wartime but of the Roosevelts themselves and their extraordinary constellation of friends, advisers, and family, many of whom lived with them in the White House: Missy LeHand, FDR's "other wife" and secretary; Harry Hopkins, FDR's closest friend and adviser; the president's indomitable mother, Sara; the Roosevelts' daughter, Anna; Eleanor's close friends Lorena Hickock and Joe Lash; Crown Princess Martha of Norway; FDR's former lover Lucy Rutherfurd, who, in a final, painful blow to Eleanor, was with him when he died. Bringing to bear the tools of both history and biography, as well as her great talent for capturing larger-than-life characters, Goodwin relates the unique story of how Franklin Roosevelt, surrounded by his small circle of intimates, led the nation to military victory abroad against seemingly insurmountable odds and, with Eleanor's essential help, forever changed the fabric of American society.
"A thoroughly terrific and important work, a valuable addition to Roosevelt literature...Goodwin has deftly reminded us just how extraordinary FDR and Eleanor were in 'no ordinary times.' It is no ordinary book."
Richard E. Neustadt
"'No Ordinary Time' provides an engrossing picture of the World War II era. The sheer abundance of colorful biographical anecdotes and the cumulative weight of telling detail sustain an atmosphere of immediacy and leave a lastingly vivid impression of what the war looked like from the perspective of some centrally involved participants."
David Willis McCullough