Author Eric Burns on His New Book About Eleanor Roosevelt
Author Eric Burns discusses his new book, Someone to Watch Over Me: A Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Tortured Father Who Shaped Her Life. Eleanor Roosevelt is viewed as a pioneering woman in American history. But she was also enigmatic and lonely. Her loveless marriage with FDR was no secret, and she had a cold relationship with most of her family. Yet she was a warm person, beloved by friends, and her humanitarian work still influences the world today. But who shaped Eleanor? It was the most unlikely of figures: her father Elliott, a lost spirit with a bittersweet story.
Elliott was the brother of Theodore Roosevelt, and he was as winsome and charming as Theodore was blustery and competitive. Though the two maintained a healthy rivalry in their youth, Elliott would eventually succumb to alcoholism and would be exiled to the Virginia countryside. But he kept up a close correspondence with his daughter, Eleanor, who treasured his letters and would read them nightly for her entire life for guidance, inspiration and love.
Eric Burns is a former correspondent for NBC News and the TODAY Show. For ten years he was the host of the top-rated “Fox News Watch,” and he has won an Emmy for media criticism. He is the author of The Golden Lad: The Haunting Story of Quentin and Theodore Roosevelt, 1920: The Year that Made the Decade Roar, a Kirkus "Best Book of the Year," Infamous Scribblers, The Spirits of America and The Smoke of the Gods, and the latter two were named “Best of the Best” by the American Library Association.
Author photo credit Lorraine Battipaglia.