Friday, January 30, 2009

Sara and Eleanor or Americas Christian Heritage

Sara and Eleanor: The Story of Sara Delano Roosevelt and Her Daughter-in-Law, Eleanor Roosevelt

Author: Jan Pottker

We think we know the story of Eleanor Roosevelt--the shy, awkward girl who would redefine the role of First Lady, becoming a civil rights activist and an inspiration to generations of young women. As legend has it, the bane of Eleanor's life was her demanding and domineering mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt. Biographers have overlooked the complexity of a relationship that had, over the years, been reinterpreted and embellished by Eleanor herself.

Through diaries, letters, and interviews with Roosevelt family and friends, Jan Pottker uncovers a story never before told. The result is a triumphant blend of social history and psychological insight--a revealing look at Eleanor Roosevelt and the woman who made her historic achievements possible.

Publishers Weekly

Pottker (Janet and Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) has made a specialty of tell-alls about the wealthy and the powerful, from the Mars family to Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren. But in Sara and Eleanor a study of the complex, sometimes supportive, sometimes contentious relationship between FDR's wife and mother Pottker embarks upon serious historical waters. Navigating across a story already well traversed by such superb writers and researchers as Blanche Wiesen Cook, Geoffrey Ward and Betty Boyd Caroli (the latter in 1998's The Roosevelt Women), Pottker unfortunately, despite her protestations, has nothing new to add to the well-worn tale of these two fascinating ladies. One comes away from Pottker's book wondering why she believed another retelling (one that comes at the story far less eloquently and authoritatively than previous efforts) to be necessary in the first place. The answer lies, apparently, in Pottker's revisionist tack when it comes to key details. For example, Pottker somewhat astonishingly in the face of much testimony to the contrary discounts the notion of Franklin ever having had a true affair with Eleanor's social secretary, Lucy Mercer. But the revision in question is purely speculative on Pottker's part, not based on evidence. Both Eleanor and Sara deserve and have gotten in the past far more accurate accounts of themselves. Readers should refer to those. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Mel Berger, William Morris. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Pottker (Janet and Jackie; Dear Ann, Dear Abby) considers another power relationship, that of Sara Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. Contrary to popular belief, she would have readers believe that Sara was not a gorgon, a racist, an anti-Semite, or a snob; she supported FDR's political career and treated her moody daughter-in-law warmly. At most, Pottker concedes that Sara was something of a meddler. Moreover, Eleanor owed Sara her marriage because Sara apparently warned Franklin that a divorce from Eleanor meant the end of Sara's largesse. Accordingly, Eleanor comes off less well. Emerging from her painful childhood to become a depressed and emotionally unavailable mother, she is shown initially welcoming Sara's extravagant attentions to her and Franklin's children and then carping about them in retrospect. Pottker has extensively researched this book and filled it with convincing and engaging details to make her case for Sara. She takes a defensive tone-not surprising considering that Sara has taken it on the chin from Dore Schary (in Sunrise at Campobello) and Eleanor herself, whose retrospective criticism of her mother-in-law has informed recent scholarship. So perhaps Pottker's sympathetic portrait is overdue. For public libraries.-Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

A thoroughly researched, though highly chatty and oddly superficial, attempt to rehabilitate the image of FDR's mother, which was besmirched, the author argues, by less sympathetic Roosevelt biographers. Pottker (Janet and Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter, 2001, etc.) writes for the Princess Di set, for lovers of royals and riches and American dynasties. Here are accounts of who was wearing cream taffeta at which Roosevelt wedding; here are six pages devoted to the 1939 visit to Hyde Park of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI and the spats between Eleanor and Sara about the menu. Here is such a concern for the exteriors of people's lives (what they wore, where they lived, how their homes were decorated, what they drove, where they traveled, what they bought) that interior lives must almost always be inferred, and then only with difficulty. Pottker just doesn't want to get into it. Neither, in this strangely prudish account, does she wish to be more than coy about sexual issues. The author tells us that the teenaged Eleanor installed triple interior locks on her bedroom door because of drunken uncles. What does that mean? You won't find the answer here. Nor does the author give credence to stories that FDR and Lucy Mercer actually had sexual relations. No, she claims, it was just an intimate relationship. Pottker tries to focus on the stories of the two titular women, but that's hard to do with FDR filling the stage with his charm, his polio, his political successes. And, besides, the author's principal intent is to reinstall Sara Delano Roosevelt on her pedestal-Sara, the woman who was on the cover of Time before her son (or daughter-in-law), the woman who was the heart andsoul and financial officer for the Roosevelt clan. In short: the mother of all matriarchs. Skims across the surface of a very deep lake. (16 pp. b&w photos, not seen) Agent: Mel Berger/William Morris

Interesting book: SQL Server 2005 Bible or Viva Pinata

America's Christian Heritage

Author: Gary DeMar

From Plymouth Rock to Independence Hall and beyond, the dates of American history overflow with evidence of the profound role Christianity has played in our nation. The historical record fully documents the claim that America was founded by Christians to be a biblical "city on a hill." Sadly, however, that record is rarely consulted... As a result, the once self-evident assertion that America was founded as a Christian nation is mocked by academic and media elites. Author Gary DeMar answers secular denials of America's Christian heritage as he presents evidence from a broad range of historical sources and lets the record speak for itself. Consider, for example, the following: In 1892, the Supreme Court of the United States declared, "This is a Christian nation." French social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville concluded in 1831 that "[T]here is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than America." Woodrow Wilson said in 1911 that "America was born a Christian nation." The New England Confederation said the purpose of the colonies was "to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace."

Table of Contents:
Introduction: America's Christian Heritage: Fact or Fiction?7
1"By the Providence of Alimighty God" Christianity in Colonial America13
2"Through Divine Goodness" Christianity in the Colonial Constitutions23
3"In the Year of Our Lord" Christianity and the Constitution31
4"To Lay Christ at the Bottom" Christianity in the Colleges39
5"In God We Trust" Christianity in our Nation's Capitol49
6The Separation Myth Christianity and the First Amendment61
7The Ten Commandments on Trial A Supreme Legal Fight69
8"God Bless America" Giving Thanks to God in America77
Conclusion: God Governs in the Affairs of Men81

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