768 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.4 in
October 1, 1995
Simon & Schuster
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0684804484
ISBN - 13: 9780684804484
Read from the Book
Chapter 1"THE DECISIVE HOUR HAS COME"On nights filled with tension and concern, Franklin Roosevelt performed a ritual that helped him to fall asleep. He would close his eyes and imagine himself at Hyde Park as a boy, standing with his sled in the snow atop the steep hill that stretched from the south porch of his home to the wooded bluffs of the Hudson River far below. As he accelerated down the hill, he maneuvered each familiar curve with perfect skill until he reached the bottom, whereupon, pulling his sled behind him, he started slowly back up until he reached the top, where he would once more begin his descent. Again and again he replayed this remembered scene in his mind, obliterating his awareness of the shrunken legs inert beneath the sheets, undoing the knowledge that he would never climb a hill or even walk on his own power again. Thus liberating himself from his paralysis through an act of imaginative will, the president of the United States would fall asleep.The evening of May 9, 1940, was one of these nights. At 11 p.m., as Roosevelt sat in his comfortable study on the second floor of the White House, the long-apprehended phone call had come. Resting against the high back of his favorite red leather chair, a precise reproduction of one Thomas Jefferson had designed for work, the president listened as his ambassador to Belgium, John Cudahy, told him that Hitler's armies were simultaneously attacking Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and France. The period of relative c
Table of Contents
1. "The Decisive Hour Has Come"
2. "A Few Nice Boys with BB Guns"
3. "Back to the Hudson"
4. "Living Here Is Very Oppressive"
5. "No Ordinary Time"
6. "I Am a Juggler"
7. "I Can't Do Anything About Her"
8. "Arsenal of Democracy"
9. "Business As Usual"
10. "A Great Hour to Live"
11. "A Completely Changed World"
12. "Two Little Boys Playing Soldier"
13. "What Can We Do to Help?"
14. "By God, If It Ain't Old Frank!"
15. "We Are Striking Back"
16. "The Greatest Man I Have Ever Known"
17. "It Is Blood on Your Hands"
18. "It Was a Sight I Will Never Forget"
19. "I Want to Sleep and Sleep"
20. "Suspended in Space"
21. "The Old Master Still Had It"
22. "So Darned Busy"
23. "It Is Good to Be Home"
24. "Everybody Is Crying"
25. "A New Country Is Being Born"
A Note on Sources
From the Publisher
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History, No Ordinary Time is a monumental work, a brilliantly conceived chronicle of one of the most vibrant and revolutionary periods in the history of the United States.
With an extraordinary collection of details, Goodwin masterfully weaves together a striking number of story lines—Eleanor and Franklin’s marriage and remarkable partnership, Eleanor’s life as First Lady, and FDR’s White House and its impact on America as well as on a world at war. Goodwin effectively melds these details and stories into an unforgettable and intimate portrait of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and of the time during which a new, modern America was born.
About the Author
Doris Kearns Goodwin:I trace my love of history to the days when I was six years old and my father taught me the mysterious art of keeping score at baseball games so that I could listen to the Dodgers play in the afternoons while he was at work and re-create for him at night the entire history of each day's game, play by play, inning by inning. He made it even more special for me because he never told me that all this was described in the newspapers the next day so that I thought without me he would never even know what happened to our beloved Dodgers! Thus history acquired for me a magic that it still holds to this day.But if my love of history was planted in that childhood experience, my particular style of writing--a love of storytelling and an attempt to fuse history and biography with as much detail as possible so that the characters can come alive for the reader-is rooted in the experience of knowing one president Lyndon Johnson-very well when I was only thirty four. I worked for him first as a White House Fellow in his last year in office and then helped him on his memoirs the last four years of his life. It should have been a time in his life when he had much to be grateful for. His career in politics had, after all, reached a peak with his election to the presidency and he had all the money he needed to pursue any leisure activity. But here was a man whose entire life had been consumed by power, success, and ambition, and as a result, he could barely get throug
From Our Editors
Modern America was born in the raging fires of 1940s war-torn Europe. The isolationist country, still weakened by the Depression, finally entered the fray and came into its own. Doris Kearns Goodwin examines how this country became the leading power on the international stage only five years later. Kearns' answer: the dynamic, unique partnership between Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II offers a thorough and personal portrayal of FDR and Eleanor, and a skilful account of America during wartime. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, it is a riveting account of the partnership that forever changed America.
“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.’”
Reading Group Discussion Points
- Goodwin characterizes FDR as a brilliant, energetic, cheerful man who rarely folded under pressure or displayed his innermost feelings. How might the elements of FDR's character and of his time have blended to create a man so successful in marshaling America's forces to defeat the Axis powers? Compare FDR to other wartime presidents such as Lincoln and Nixon. Why is FDR's place in history so secure?
- With deft ability, Goodwin brings Eleanor Roosevelt to life. Who was she and what were her concerns? How did she alter America's conception of the role of First Lady? What innovative and lasting contributions did she make to the civil rights movement and to women? Why was she called, during her last years, "the greatest woman in the world"? Compare Eleanor to other prominent First Ladies, such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.
- Franklin and Eleanor had a very unconventional marriage, even by today's standards. What bound them? What kept them from living more completely as man and wife? What helped to make them such an extraordinary team? How did the combination of their characters serve to create such a remarkable and successful partnership?
- Both Franklin and Eleanor found other people to fill the needs they could not seem to satisfy in one another. Eleanor at various times turned to her daughter, Anna, to Lorena Hickok, and to Joe Lash for her personal needs. What did these three people contribute to Eleanor's life that Franklin either could not or would not? At various times, Franklin relied on Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, Missy LeHand, and Princess Martha of Norway for companionship. What did these women offer him that Eleanor did not? What are the various portraits that emerge of these important characters?
- Who are the other people, either personal or political, that populated the Roosevelt years, such as Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins? What were their roles in FDR's life and his presidency?
- What characterized the celebrated and remarkable friendship that grew between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill? How did this friendship affect the war's outcome? What was their relationship to Stalin, and how did the three of them function as a united group that served to change the world?
- When Eleanor came back from visiting the front, she fell into a deep depression. Goodwin writes, "Nothing in her previous experience had prepared her for the misery she encountered in the hospitals: the mangled bodies, the stomachs ripped by shells, the amputated limbs, the crushed spirits. Only a few photographs of dead American soldiers had appeared in magazines and newspapers since the war began. The Office of War Information, established by Roosevelt, had so sanitized the war experience that few people on the home front understood what the war was really about." What purpose did it serve to keep Americans from truly witnessing the horrors of war? Do you think if Americans had seen, as Eleanor did, the firsthand horrors of war, they would have continued to support the war effort?
- In an effort to help European Jews, Roosevelt requested a new war-powers bill that would have given him power to suspend laws that were hampering "the free movement of persons, property, and information." Had it passed, it might have helped open the gates of immigration to Jewish refugees. "Once this was made clear, the bill had no chance," Goodwin writes. "The powerful conservative coalition strengthened immeasurably by the by-elections crushed it." Newsweek observed, "The ugly truth is that anti-Semitism was a definite factor in the bitter opposition to the president's request." Do you think FDR could have done more for the Jews? How as a nation do we reconcile such a horrible fact?
- At the end of No Ordinary Time, Goodwin recaps Franklin's presidential career, underscoring his successes as well as his failures. For example, Roosevelt's success in mobilizing the nation was extraordinary However, his forcible relocation of Japanese-Americans during the war was certainly a failure of vision. What are FDR's other successes and failures?
- After the war, America emerged as a different, modern nation. Goodwin writes "No segment of American society had been left untouched." Discuss the many strides that were made, as well as the fundamental changes that occurred. For example, as a result of the war, numerous advancements were made on behalf of African-Americans. Additionally, many women continued to work outside the home after the war was over, forever changing the domestic front.
- It was truly amazing how America, a nation completely unprepared for war, rose up to become an unprecedented leader in war production. "The figures are all so astronomical that they cease to mean very much," historian Bruce Catton wrote. "The total is simply beyond the compass of one's understanding. Here was displayed a strength greater even than cocky Americans in the old days of unlimited selfconfidence had supposed; strength to which nothing-literally nothing, in the physical sense-was any longer impossible." What does this reveal about America and the spirit of the American people?
- Would a presidency like FDR's be possible today? How would the contemporary American public view a relationship such as FDR had with Missy LeHand? How might we as a nation react to a man handicapped as FDR was?
- What is the legacy left to us by Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt? Count the ways in which we are indebted to them. How might they feel about contemporary America and its role in the world today? How does it differ from their America? How is it the same? Recommended Readings The Greatest of Friends: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, Keith Alldritt It All Adds Up: From the Dim Past to the Uncertain Future, Saul Bellow Washington Goes to War, David Brinkley FDR's Fireside Chats, Russell D. Buhite And David W.Levy, eds. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox, James Macgregor Burns The Roosevelts: An American Saga, Peter Collier The Inheritance, Samuel Freedman Dunkirk: The Complete Story of the First Step in the Defeat of Hitler, Norman Gelb This Is My Story, Eleanor Roosevelt A Rendezvous with Destiny: The Roosevelts of the White House , Elliott Roosevelt The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. I, Arthur M. Schlesinger. Jr. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany , William L. Shirer