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The First Lady of World War II

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Member Reviews

This is an excellent book that centers only on a specific time period in Eleanor Roosevelt's life as First Lady. This particular period was when she journeyed to the frontlines of the war while most of the world thought she was at home. She was an amazing woman who used her time to support others around her. I liked the details in this book and thought the author did a fantastic job relaying how important her impact was on those around her. I enjoyed the book and if you like to read about women in history and their influence on world events, you will like the book too.
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I really enjoyed this book. It covers a relatively short period of time, but places it in the larger context of Eleanor Roosevelt's vast contributions to American history and politics. I particularly enjoyed the excerpts from letters and diaries so that the reader gets a feeling of the impact of Eleanor's trip across the Pacific during the war. There has been a lot of historical research and writing on Eleanor Roosevelt, but I always marvel at her willingness to get in the trenches as it were and find out the tough things for herself. The will power and stamina she had on such a grueling journey would be amazing today, but it is even more impressive in the context of a world at war and 1940s technology. A fabulous addition to the Eleanor Roosevelt library.
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'Behind every great man is a great woman', is a very apt proverb to describe Eleanor Roosevelt.  'The First Lady of World War II' is a case study on Eleanor's tireless works during the war, specifically her tour of the Pacific Islands during the late stages of the war; culminating at Guadalcanal which had been recently wrested from the Japanese, 'Eleanor was...heading deeper into a theater of war unlike any other in history - one where fighting took place across great distances on water and in places with harsh, unfamiliar surroundings.'

While the war in Europe turned towards a triumphant close, many US troops were stationed thousands of miles away, throughout the Pacific.  The distance, lack of supplies, fuel, and transport, meant that troops were often stuck at their post - even on leave - for long periods.  At times the war felt hopeless and the personnel waging it felt forgotten.  Eleanor saw the need to be a presence and a comfort. She wanted to not only be the eyes and ears of the President but to bring hope and lift morale.  The war was not over, but it was winnable.  

Shannon Schmidt uses Eleanor's tour of the Pacific to not only highlight the harsh and crude conditions both she and the troops endured to get there and survive there but to also highlight the barriers, lies, and negativity she overcame in order to be there; as a woman and as the President's wife, 'More than any woman who ever lived in the White House she has succeeded in being herself despite its taboos'.  As well as detailing Eleanor's island visits, Schmidt reflects on Eleanor's personality and intersperses anecdotes to exemplify Eleanor's journey in becoming the woman that she was, 'The war was my emancipation and my education'.  Or, as one sergeant remarked, 'Damn, she's fine, ain't she'.

This is a good read for those interested in the war in the Pacific as well as women's history.
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I’m not going to lie Eleanor Roosevelt has always been one of my favorite first ladies. And now even more so after reading this one. And learning that this awesome woman went to the front lines during WWII.
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A beautiful and touching biographical moment in history depicting the unselfishness of Eleanor Roosevelt's journey to the front-lines during WWII. She was a dedicated leader for her quest to a better world even if it meant risking her own life to share a "beacon of hope" to the men and women serving our country. As the Japanese dropped air bombs while she visited the Guadalcanal, she wanted to be with the ordinary boys in extraordinary circumstances.
 Against the higher command wishes, she experienced what the troops did so she could report back. She raved about the black & white serving side by side and both being well-cared for whether it was the injured or just being fed. She went on with her efforts to end segregation when she returned against society's beliefs. The leaders were hesitant to believe her trip would work, but later in awe of her compassion and impact on the wounded. She agonized with the most critical wounded and saw them not as a number but connected personally with each one she spoke with. 
When the First lady came to the Christmas Islands, her leadership role was as a Representative of the Red Cross. All four sons were serving there and she understood what it was like for them to be away from family. She spent 5 weeks there as Allied forces battled the Japanese. She worked relentlessly for world peace.
This story is considered a fictional narrative, but I think it was very well researched in order to give the highlights of her meaningfulness and fearlessness. Great work for this timeless piece everyone needs to read and see what one person can do to make a difference in such a difficult time for many. 

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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The First Lady of World War II Eleanor Roosevelt's Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back by Shannon McKenna Schmidt is an excellent nonfiction and biographical account of the former First Lady and her actions, encounters, and experiences when she traveled to the Pacific during WWII.

This was utterly fascinating. Being able to learn so much and delve into the extensive trip that Eleanor Roosevelt participated in as First Lady during 1943 was wonderful. I did not know very much about these excursions and the logistics behind such an ambitious and potentially risky undertaking. 

This was presented well and impressively researched…even though it was nonfiction, it read as a fictional narrative. I learned a lot and enjoyed myself in the process. It was great from beginning to end. Highly recommend. 

5/5 stars 

Thank you NG and Sourcebooks for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/2/23.
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