Eleanor in the Village
Eleanor Roosevelt's Search for Freedom and Identity in New York's Greenwich Village
Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (3/30/2021)
Hundreds of books have been written about FDR and Eleanor, both together and separately, but yet she remains a compelling and elusive figure. And, not much is known about why in 1920, Eleanor suddenly abandoned her duties as a mother of five and moved to Greenwich Village, then the symbol of all forms of transgressive freedom—communism, homosexuality, interracial relationships, and subversive political activity. Now, in this fascinating, in-depth portrait, Jan Russell pulls back the curtain on Eleanor’s life to reveal the motivations and desires that drew her to the Village and how her time there changed her political outlook.
A captivating blend of personal history detailing Eleanor’s struggle with issues of marriage, motherhood, financial independence, and femininity, and a vibrant portrait of one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world, this unique work examines the ways that the sensibility, mood, and various inhabitants of the neighborhood influenced the First Lady’s perception of herself and shaped her political views over four decades, up to her death in 1962.
When Eleanor moved there, the Village was a neighborhood of rogues and outcasts, a zone of Bohemians, misfits, and artists. But there was also freedom there, a miniature society where personal idiosyncrasy could flourish. Eleanor joined the cohort of what then was called “The New Women” in Greenwich Village. Unlike the flappers in the 1920s, the New Women had a much more serious agenda, organizing for social change—unions for workers, equal pay, protection for child workers—and they insisted on their own sexual freedom. These women often disagreed about politics—some, like Eleanor, were Democrats, others Republicans, Socialists, and Communists. Even after moving into the White House, Eleanor retained connections to the Village, ultimately purchasing an apartment in Washington Square where she lived during World War II and in the aftermath of Roosevelt’s death in 1945.
Including the major historical moments that served as a backdrop for Eleanor’s time in the Village, this remarkable work offers new insights into Eleanor’s transformation—emotionally, politically, and sexually—and provides us with the missing chapter in an extraordinary life.
Praise For Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt's Search for Freedom and Identity in New York's Greenwich Village…
“A riveting and enlightening account of Eleanor Roosevelt’s fascinating life. . . . A terrible irony jumps off the pages of Russell’s work here: We are still waging the same wars for equality and justice that Eleanor Roosevelt waged starting a century ago.” —Bookreporter.com
Scribner, 9781501198151, 240pp.
Publication Date: March 30, 2021