Finished 7-12-08, rating 4/5, non-fiction, pub. 1960
“It is a brave thing to have courage to be an individual; it is also, perhaps, a lonely thing. But it is better than not being an individual, which is to be nobody at all.” Chapter 7
“What counts, in the long run, is not what you read; it is what you sift through your own mind; it is the ideas and impressions that are aroused in you by your reading. It is the ideas stirred in your own mind, the ideas which are a reflection of your own thinking, which make you an interesting person.” Chapter 1
I knew and still, in many ways, know very little about Eleanor Roosevelt. She wrote this book only a few years before she died and in it she chronicles what the many years of her life taught her. She covers a variety of topics: learning, fear, using your time, maturity, readjustments, usefulness, individuality, getting the best out of people, responsibility, politics participation, and being a public servant. This book holds up remarkably well and many of the affairs of the world are eeerily relevant today.
Eleanor was born to priveledge and the book makes that evident. Some of the advice, while coming from a good place, seems somewhat elitist. On the other hand, she is a woman who has seen the people of the world at their best and worst and has come away with a passion for life and making the world a better place. Her antedotes about some of the important men of the day, her lunch with Calvin Coolidge and conversation with Mr. Krushchev are two that come to mind, make the book that much more interesting. I found the book enlightening, inspiring, and educational.
She talks a lot about raising children and I think this would be a wonderful gift for a mom-to-be or new mother who has an interest in history or even the empowerment of women. I think you’ll be better off for having read this book.