Cover image for Courage in a dangerous world : the political writings of Eleanor Roosevelt
Courage in a dangerous world : the political writings of Eleanor Roosevelt
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 362 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E807.1.R48 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Dozens of books have been written about Eleanor Roosevelt, but her own writings are largely confined to the Roosevelt archives in Hyde Park. Courage in a Dangerous World allows her own voice again to be heard. Noted Eleanor Roosevelt scholar Allida M. Black has gathered more than two hundred columns, articles, essays, and speeches culled from archives whose pages number in the millions, tracing her development from timorous columnist to one of liberalism's most outspoken leaders.

From "My Day" newspaper columns about Marian Anderson and excerpts from Moral Basis of Democracy and This Troubled World to speeches and articles on the Holocaust and McCarthyism, this anthology provides readers with the tools to reconstruct the politics of a woman who redefined American liberalism and democratic reform. Arranged chronologically and by topic, the volume covers the New Deal years, the White House years, World War II at home and abroad, the United Nations and human rights, the Cold War, the civil rights movement, the resurgence of feminism, and much more. In addition, the collection features excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt's correspondence with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Adlai Stevenson, J. Edgar Hoover, John F. Kennedy, and ordinary Americans.

The volume features a collection of 30 rare photographs. A comprehensive bibliography of Eleanor Roosevelt's articles serves as a valuable resource, providing a link to the issues she held dear, many of which are still hotly debated today.

Author Notes

Eleanor Roosevelt, October 11, 1884 - November 7, 1962 Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884, to Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt. Her mother died in 1892, and she and her brother went to live with Grandmother Hall. Her father died only two years later. She attended a distinguished school in England when she became of age, at 15. She met and married her distant cousin Franklin, in 1905.

In Albany, Franklin served in the state Senate from 1910 to 1913, and Eleanor started her career as political helpmate. She gained a knowledge of Washington and its ways while he served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. When he was stricken with polio in 1921, she tended him and became active in the women's division of the State Democratic Committee to keep his interest in politics alive. He successfully campaigned for governor in 1928 and eventually won the Presidency with Eleanor by his side. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office.

When Eleanor came to the White House in 1933, she understood social conditions better than any of her predecessors and she transformed the role of First Lady. She never shirked official entertaining. She broke precedence to hold press conferences, traveled to all parts of the country and give lectures and radio broadcasts, and also wrote a daily syndicated newspaper column, "My Day."

After the President's death in 1945 she returned to a cottage at his Hyde Park estate. Within a year, however, she became the American spokeswoman in the United Nations. She continued her career until her strength began to wane in 1962. She died in New York City that November, and was buried at Hyde Park beside her husband.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The intelligent writings of Roosevelt are both a tonic and a balm in this time of rampant doublespeak. Black, an Eleanor Roosevelt scholar, has worked through the immense treasure trove of ER's writings to make these jewels of common sense, candor, and generosity of spirit accessible to all readers. The selected essays, columns, letters, and book excerpts span the New Deal years, World War II, the establishment of the United Nations, the cold war, and the Un-American Activities Committee. ER began speaking out against racial discrimination in the late 1930s and consistently attacked intolerance in all forms until her final days. She wrote of war, poverty, politics, religion, and sexism, even using a New Yorker cartoon mocking her intrepid curiosity as the spark for a vigorous assault on the belief that a woman's place is in the home that extends the concept of home to encompass the entire world. Both eloquent and plainspoken, ER sought to challenge complacency and keep democracy not only viable but vital. --Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

With the written word, Eleanor Roosevelt learned to speak loudly and cast her own political shadow. This collection of columns, essays, speeches, and letters documents her political transformation from self-effacing first lady to outspoken defender of democracy and human rights. Arranged chronologically from the New Deal to the Cold War, this title is important because most of Roosevelt's writingsÄexcept her Autobiography (Da Capo, 1992)Äare out of print. Black, editor of What I Hope To Leave Behind: The Essential Essays of Eleanor Roosevelt (LJ 11/15/95), has struck archival gold. "In Defense of Curiosity" proves that Eleanor put a deft spin on gender politics in the 1930s: "when people say woman's place is in the home, I certainly is, but if she really cares about her home, that caring will take her far and wide." She had the audacity to support the American Youth CongressÄdisillusioned young adults with Communist sympathiesÄand denounce Joseph McCarthy. Racism, generation gaps, and education also drove her to write with both compassion and a sterling clarity that transcended her husband's politics. Recommended for all public and academic libraries. (Photos not seen.)ÄHeather McCormack, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Courage in a Dangerous World is an exceptionally important collection of the writings of America's most renowned First Lady. The volume exudes Eleanor Roosevelt's compassion for the less fortunate, concern for minorities, support for organized labor, and determination that the US represent progressive ideals in the international arena. Covering the three decades from the advent of FDR's presidency to Eleanor Roosevelt's death in 1963, the collection contains moving editorials exploring such topics as the Holocaust, Jim Crow, human rights, and economic democracy. Prescience abounds, as when Mrs. Roosevelt warns in late March 1947, "If a wave of hysteria hits us there will be very little protection for anyone who even thinks differently from the run-of-the-mill." Shining most clearly is ER's heartfelt reverence for both individual rights and democracy in all its essentials. Her politically determined failure to speak out forcefully regarding the WW II-era mass internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese aliens, consequently, starkly mars her generally impeccable libertarian record. Interesting, too, are numerous reminders of ER's service as a spokesperson for her country during the height of the Cold War. Highly recommended for all readers. R. C. Cottrell; California State University, Chico

Table of Contents

PrefaceBlanche Weisen Cook
Part I The New Deal Years: 1933--1940
1 The State's Responsibility for Fair Working Conditions
2 I Want You to Write to Me
3 Old Age Pensions
4 Subsistence Farmsteads
5 The New Governmental Interest in the Arts: A Speech before the Twenty-Fifth Annual Convention of the American Federation of Artists
6 In Defense of Curiosity
7 The Negro and Social Change
8 Are We Overlooking the Pursuit of Happiness?
9 Married Persons Clause of the Economy Act
10 The Southern Conference on Human Welfare
11 ER to Lorena HickokHenry Grady Hotel Atlanta
12 Marian Anderson and the Daughters of the American Revolution
13 The Federal Theater Project
14 Women Politics, and Policy
15 The Works Progress Administration
16 The Moral Basis of Democracy
17 Women in Politics
18 Insuring Democracy
19 Helping Them to Help Themselves
Part II The Threat of War: 1935--1945
1 "Because the War Idea Is Obsolete"
2 "This Troubled World"
3 Cash and Carry
4 The Invasion of Poland
5 Wartime Sacrifice
6 Should There Be A Referendum on War?
7 The Bombing of Britain
8 Pearl Harbor
9 The Nazi Camps
10 The Holocaust
11 D-Day
12 D-Day, by Continued
13 Conscientious Objectors
14 Total War
15 Equal Justice for All
16 The Atomic Bomb
Part III The Home Front: 1939--1945
1 "Keepers of Democracy"
2 "Intolerance"
3 "Why I Still Believe in the Youth Congress"
4 "Civil Liberties--The Individual and the Community"
5 "Social Gains and Defense"
6 "Race Religion and Prejudice"
7 "Must We Hate to Fight?"
8 "Freedom: Promise or Fact"
9 "Abolish Jim Crow!"
10 "A Challenge to American Sportsmanship"
11 "Henry A. Wallace's "Democracy Reborn"
12 FDR's Death
Part IV The United Nations and Human Rights: 1945--1953
1 "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights"
2 "The Promise of Human Rights"
3 "Statement on Draft Covenant on Human Rights"
4 "Reply to Attacks on U.S. Attitude Toward Human Rights Covenant"
5 "UN: Good U.S. Investment"
6 "The Universal Validity of Man's Right to Self-Determination"
7 "U.N. Deliberations on Draft Convention on the Political Rights of Women"
8 "Eisenhower Administration Rejects Treaty"
9 ER's Response
Part V The Cold War Abroad: 1945--1963
1 Revisiting Yalta
2 "The Russians Are Tough"
3 The Korean War
4 Truman's Dismissal of MacArthur
5 China and the Korean War
6 "First Need: Resettlement"
7 "The Changing India"
8 "Soviet Attacks on Social Conditions in U.S."
9 "Why Are We Cooperating with Tito?"
10 Tensions in the Middle East
11 "What Are We For?"
12 The Bay of Pigs and the Congo
13 "What Has Happened to the American Dream?"
Part VI The Cold War at Home: 1945--1963
1 Full Employment
2 Price Controls and Postwar Production
3 "Why I Do Not Choose to Run"
4 Loyalty Oaths
5 Taft-Hartley Act
6 Correspondence Regarding the Above Column
7 House Committee on Un-American Activities
8 "Plain Talk About Wallace"
9 "Liberals in This Year of Decision"
10 Dispute with Francis Cardinal Spellman
11 Correspondence Regarding the Above Column
12 Address to Americans for Democratic Action
13 "If I Were a Republican Today"
14 Senator Joseph McCarthy
15 Alger Hiss
16 "Social Responsibility for Individual Welfare"
17 Stevenson Campaign Address
18 Segregation in the South
19 The Smith Act
20 The Civil Rights Act of 1957
21 Stevenson on the Civil Rights Bill
22 Correspondence with Lyndon Johnson Regardomg the Above Column
23 "Ike--`Nice Man Poor Leader';Nixon--`Anything to Get Elected'"
24 "Why I Am Opposed to `Right to Work' Laws"
25 Statement on Behalf of t