NO ORDINARY TIME by Doris Keans Goodwin: A Review

After reading several novels set during WWII, I wanted to read something non-fiction about the war years, especially the war years in the USA. Goodwin’s well-researched book is both historical and biographical and deals with the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Their “rule” over American politics and society is a phenomenon I often heard my parents discuss.

The book delivers interesting sidelights to both the Roosevelts’ relationship and their individual personalities. Bringing in the adult children’s information from letters, interviews, and writings concerning their parents was a device the author employed well. Descriptions of life in The White House during WWII appears, as did descriptions of the Kennedys, the Fitzgeralds, and Winston Churchill.

Less interesting to this reader, but probably of central interest to true history buffs was the coverage of war strategies, battle plans, diplomacy at conferences, and treaties formed during this period of America’s ascendance as a world leader. Eleanor’s “social and civil work” was tantamount to a whole sub-theme of the book. Friends and advisors of both Franklin and Eleanor were a fascinating cast of secondary characters populating the anecdotes given throughout.

As I read, I felt like an “insider” during a very serious time in American history and was given a taste of what it felt like on the American homefront during the War.