A serviceable biography of one of the US’s most extraordinary citizens, but not nearly in the class of Barbara Cooney’s Eleanor (1996) or Russell Freedman’s Eleanor: A Life of Discovery (1993). Westervelt has to sustain a breathless pace to fit the rich story of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life into these pages. She begins with the image of the golden-haired, painfully shy child, whose plainness was disdained by a beautiful mother, and whose adored, alcoholic father was mostly absent. She found refuge in study and in service to others from a very young age; when she married her cousin Franklin, she was given away by her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt. That began decades of public life during which she supported her husband as he rose through public offices to the presidency, raised their children, fought off a domineering mother-in-law, and carved out her own life of tireless speaking, writing, and social action. Westervelt touches very lightly on the subject of Lucy Mercer and Eleanor’s possible liaisons, keeping the focus on the tremendous number of activities Eleanor undertook during WWII and beyond Franklin’s death. The lengthy biography unaccountably leaves off Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book; this is a useful biography, but not a magical one. (index) (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 1999

ISBN: 1-888105-33-X

Page Count: 142

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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In tribute to this country’s proud tradition of protest, fine artist Shetterly has chosen 50 Americans who have stood up for what he calls “the promise of America,” presenting them in a series of accurately painted head-and-shoulder portraits with their names and a pithy quote scratched in. His selections, equally divided between men and women, range from such usual suspects as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to the less-familiar likes of child peace activist Samantha Smith, political columnist Molly Ivins, authors Frances Moore Lappé (Diet for a Small Planet) and Jonathan Kozol, plus controversial figures such as Emma Goldman and Dwight Eisenhower. The telling quotes are reprinted in the margins to make them more legible. Opening with an eloquent general statement of purpose, and closing with biographical comments on each entry, this gallery of writers, politicians, rabble-rousers, troublemakers, scientists, celebrities and activists will have a stirring cumulative effect, even on children unacquainted with many of their causes or accomplishments. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-525-47429-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2005

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At Home With The Presidents (176 pp.; $12.95; Sept. 24; 0-471-25300-6) Morris offers succinct biographical information and anecdotes about all 41 presidents with brief information about homes they grew up it, historic sites dedicated to them, or libraries in which their artifacts are housed. Included are small pictures of the presidents and some of the buildings discussed. Readers will find the book of limited use for research, since the sources for quotations are not given, there is no index, and material considered controversial is not attributed. Appearing out of context are statements such as “George Washington adored his older brother” and “George’s mother was jealous of the two brother’s relationship.” The information on historic sites is upbeat but bland, and could have come right out of tourist brochures. (b&w photographs, illustrations, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1999

ISBN: 0-471-25300-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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