• sisters on a mission.

  • Three sisters. One in Virginia. One in London. One in New York. None of whom wear shorts. Ever.

  • the mission?

    Running.
    Taking delight.
    Learning Italian.
    Getting to Italy.
    Wearing shorts.
    In Italy.
    June 2011.

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Reading in Pants

Along with our athletic pursuits, we are beginning an academic pursuit. Ok, it’s just a book club among the sisters. Fall book reading in pants.

Our first book is No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

I’m just on Chapter 1, but I’m already learning a lot. And realizing how extremely limited my knowledge about American History is. Particulary the period following WWI and leading up to WWII. For instance, I didn’t know about the ISOLATIONISM policy before WW1, that obviously didn’t work because we went to war and meddled in affairs outside of the US. And that our Military had been so depleted leading up to WW2. The US Military ranked #17 in the world in size and power. Germany when it invaded, what sounds like a large section of Europe, was a super military power, ranked #1.

I love the way Goodwin tells the story. And she tells the story like a narrative, the details of Roosevelts office, how he gets in and out of his bed with the help of his valet, and what the night was like following Germany’s invasion. Already, the book is suspenseful…what will Roosevelt do? And I don’t know. Because I know nothing (virtually nothing) about American history.

I’m also really interested in Eleanor Roosevelt. What an interesting lady.

What are you thinking about sisters, as you are further along than me. What’s piqued your curiosity?

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7 Responses

  1. The whole isolation policy was news to me too and the desperate state of the US military. However given the isolation deal and with WW1 and the great depression not too distant in the past it makes sense. What was interesting is how far behind we were compared to rest of the world…and STILL were expected to help (if not save the day!). And FDR felt the US could. He had lots of faith in the American spirit and people.

    Eleanor. Well she sounds like a tough bird and also a bit of a prude at home. Did you know she was FDRs fifth cousin? I knew she was really involved in pursuing her causes which was very ahead of her time. Sounds like FDR didn’t mind and in fact needed her to be out there and relay to him the voice of the average american.. since it was hard for him to get around.

  2. Yes, I’m always intrigued by characteristics in people that make other people trust them. For FDR it is apparently: confidence and a belief that it will all work out. And perhaps a great sense of humor.

    I wonder if the first lady today acted like Eleanor — out and about everywhere — would it be considered political maneuverings. Rather than real work, or an effort to do good, to really know what is going on. Times have changed. Politics are weird.

  3. I wonder if today we would elect a president in a wheelchair? It seems to be such a non-factor with FDR…at least what I have read so far. Eleanor herself said she never heard him complain about it.. It was just something that happened to him that he would have to deal with.

    Maybe after the long-term affair was discovered Eleanor decided to do her own thing and make her own way. Who knows.

  4. I didn’t realize the military was in such dire straights. The cavalry’s argument of the supremacy of the horse to tanks was mind-boggling. Can you imagine?

    What resonated with me personally was Eleanor’s role as the eyes and ears of FDR. Specifically, her transition from superficial reporting to “missing nothing and remembering everything.” If I would make that kind of effort then ten years from now when someone says “remember that time when…” I might actually be able to say YES! instead of staring at them blankly as I do most of the time now.

  5. But Eleanor probably wrote eveything down, as people used to do then. Wish I had been doing that over the years.

    • Yes I’m sure she wrote things down but the key is that she noticed them in the first place thanks to FDR’s coaching. I’m too much inside my own head most of the time so I miss a lot of things.

  6. Oh my, it’s difficult to seriously ponder our country’s war policy, its economic state & the dynamic of the Presidential couple when one is still chuckling over the post headline: “Reading In Pants.”

    Gosh, that’s funny šŸ™‚

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