Saturday, February 25, 2017

727 (2017 #25). Loving Eleanor

by Susan Wittig Albert,
read by Karen White

Author Susan Wittig Albert was coming to my local library for a Texas Writes program, and when I found she writes some historical fiction, I decided to read/listen-to this one.

As the subtitle indicates, Loving Eleanor is about "the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok."  Hickok was one of the first Associated Press female reporters, and met Roosevelt when assigned to interview her in 1928.  They quickly became *very* good friends.

At the Texas Writes event on February 25, Albert said this book grew out of reading a very bad biography of Hickok.  "The story needed to be corrected, for history's sake," Albert said.  She went to the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library and read the original letters exchanged by the two.  Hickok donated them shortly after Eleanor Roosevelt's death in 1962, with the stipulation that they be sealed for ten years after Hickok's death (which was in 1968).

Beyond the relationship with Eleanor, I found Lorena Hickok to be an interesting person in her own right.  Besides a number of firsts as a female reporter, she worked in Franklin Roosevelt's administration for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration as its Chief Investigator, conducting fact-finding trips to learn about the poverty, homelessness, malnutrition, and lack of education resulting from the Great Depression.  She worked in public relations for the 1939 New York World's Fair, then as an executive secretary for the Democratic National Committee, and later wrote or co-authored ten books.

I started out listening to this as an audiobook, but had to switch to the print version to finish it on time for the library program.  Karen White has a voice that I could imagine being that of Lorena Hickam, that's right for the era.

© Amanda Pape - 2017

[The e-audiobook, and a print copy for reference, were borrowed from public libraries.]

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