What Are We For?: The Words and Ideals of Eleanor Roosevelt

We rated this book:


“I could not, at any age, really be contented to take my place in a warm corner by the fire and simply look on.”

Eleanor Roosevelt is an iconic figure in American history, even if she is often lost in the shuffle when discussing influential characters in the American mythos. Whereas she has been misrepresented and misunderstood in some historical accounts, here she is allowed to speak for herself, informing you in her own words across the decades.

What Are We For? amasses dozens of quotations, speech excerpts, and thoughts from the first lady’s life, gathering them under thematic headings and covering everything from the military to education to gender roles.

This collection details the complexities of life in the public eye. Although Roosevelt was outspoken on many matters, there are also times she knuckled under to the expectations of society (particularly in the case of what was expected of a first lady). There are even contradictions between quotations that sharp-eyed readers will spot, but it’s unclear if these are inconsistencies or simply opinions that changed over the course of her life.

Although context is lost in some of these quotations, for the most part, this book offers a rare opportunity to explore the inner workings of a historical figure fairly. Her words, her thoughts, her beliefs, all laid out for you to absorb. What a treat.

Reviewed By:

Author Eleanor Roosevelt
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Harper Perennial
Publish Date 2019-11-05
ISBN 9780062889478
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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