Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village

Scribner. Mar. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781501198151. $28. BIOG
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) has long been one of the most studied First Ladies. In this new biography, Russell (The Train to Crystal City) briefly covers Roosevelt’s life, but pays special attention to her connection with Greenwich Village, a New York City neighborhood known for its diverse and bohemian occupants. Russell also makes sure to cover some monumental moments in Roosevelt’s life that happened outside the city as well, but only briefly. This is a concise and interesting history, but it could have benefitted from more time spent painting a picture of Roosevelt’s life in the Village. It seems the area and her experiences there made an impact, but it is unclear how exactly that happened. Instead, this book almost serves as a history of the Village itself, with time spent covering its famous inhabitants during the 20th century. Insight into Eleanor, her relationship with husband Franklin, and their house in New York, is occasionally interwoven throughout, though it may leave readers wanting more.
VERDICT This biography of Eleanor Roosevelt concisely covers her life and connection to the Village, but it would have benefited from more time spent there. Primarily for supplement research on the Roosevelts.
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