Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley

by |March 7, 2011

Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt’s marriage is one of the most celebrated and scrutinized partnerships in presidential history. It raised eyebrows in their lifetimes and has only become more controversial since their deaths. From FDR’s lifelong romance with Lucy Mercer to Eleanor’s purported lesbianism–and many scandals in between–the American public has never tired of speculating about the ties that bound these two headstrong individuals. Some claim that Eleanor sacrificed her personal happiness to accommodate FDR’s needs; others claim that the marriage was nothing more than a gracious façade for political convenience. No one has told the full story until now.

In this groundbreaking new account of the marriage, Hazel Rowley describes the remarkable courage and lack of convention–private and public–that kept FDR and Eleanor together. She reveals a partnership that was both supportive and daring. Franklin, especially, knew what he owed to Eleanor, who was not so much behind the scenes as heavily engaged in them. Their relationship was the product of FDR and Eleanor’s conscious efforts–a partnership that they created according to their own ambitions and needs.

In this dramatic and vivid narrative, set against the great upheavals of the Depression and World War II, Rowley paints a portrait of a tender lifelong companionship, born of mutual admiration and compassion. Most of all, she depicts an extraordinary evolution–from conventional Victorian marriage to the bold and radical partnership that has made Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt go down in history as one of the most inspiring and fascinating couples of all time.

Hazel Rowley was born in London and educated in England and Australia. She is the author of three previous biographies: Christina Stead: A Biography, a New York Times Best Book; Richard Wright: The Life and Times, a Washington Post Best Book; and Tete-e-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, which has been translated into twelve languages. She lived in New York City.

from The Sydney Morning Herald March 03, 2011

Gifted Australian biographer dies in New York at 59 by Jason Steger

HAZEL Rowley once described writing a biography as like having a love affair. ”You know how it is when you are in love? You smile indulgently at their faults, you are fascinated by every minor detail about them. You cannot take your mind off them, you become so totally obsessed. You live with them day and night for years.”

Rowley’s affair with life stories came to an end on Monday night when the much admired Australian biographer died after a series of strokes at her New York home. She was 59. Rowley was due to return to Australia this month for the Perth Writers Festival and appearances in Melbourne and Sydney. Click here to read the full article…


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