Tom Paine-America’s Godfather by W. E. Woodward, Grade Level is 10.3

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An excerpt from a review in The New York Times:

Paine’s Career Highly Dramatic
Mr. Woodward writes of Paine with the brisk and lively vigor that has distinguished all his books. Subtleties of character analysis and beauties of language he leaves to others. But he has a sharp eye for the salient fact, the significant detail. What is the use, he seems to say, of being admired by scholars if only scholars read your books? What is the use of being accurate if you are not interesting? “Tom Paine” provides an answer. It will be read because it is interesting. It records the dramatic career of a great man in able fashion. And what a career it was!

Paine was largely self-educated, poor, a failure and often hungry until he came to America just in time to plunge, into the Revolution. In later years he went to England and was outlawed for sedition against the King. And in France he was a member of the Revolutionary Convention and in that body fought bravely but to no avail to save the life of Louis XVI. But the bloodthirsty Jacobins prevailed and the Committee of Public Safety imprisoned Paine and condemned him to death by the guillotine. He escaped only because of the carelessness of a jail guard who neglected to mark his cell door with the fatal sign in chalk.

Thomas Paine was the friend of Franklin, Lafayette, Washington, Jefferson and Monroe. His written words helped to change the course of history. It is easy to see why when we read again the most famous of them all: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this con¬solation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated.”
Orville Prescott, June 22, 1945.

Picture of Eleanor Roosevelt

Mrs. R: The Story of Eleanor Roosevelt by Alfred Steinberg

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“Mrs. R.” is a clear objective year-by-year account of the life of one of the world’s most famous women. Enjoy a biography by a writer who knew Eleanor Roosevelt and was able to interview her contemporaries.

The writer Alfred Steinberg is well known for his biographies of Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Sam Rayburn. He also wrote more than 200 magazine articles, as well as book reviews and features for the Washington Post, the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, the Saturday Evening Post, Harper’s, Collier’s, and American Heritage.

Mr. Steinberg’s books included “Mrs. R,” this biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, whom he had known when she was United States Representative to the United Nations; “The Man From Missouri,” a biography of Truman, and “Sam Johnson’s Boy,” about Lyndon Johnson.

This was the first full-length biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, based upon her personal papers, when published in 1958. Previously known only through her own three-volume autobiography, Mrs. Roosevelt had remained something of a mystery and a legend, beloved by millions and disliked by some.

Over 4,000 of her personal letters and other private papers at the Hyde Park memorial library were studied by the author. He has woven all known sources of information into an extremely lively story, with the warmth and mastery of a fine novelist.

Here is the lonely childhood, disrupted by the death of loved ones, the shy emergence into wealthy society, the court-ship by Franklin under the possessive authority of his mother, the day-to-day events of Campobello and polio, the young wife’s reluctant participation in politics as the “eyes, ears and legs” of the man of destiny.

The reader will also see how the programs of the New Deal developed during the Depression, and how the Roosevelts worked together to repeal the Neutrality Acts in order to aid Great Britain at the start of World War II.

Eleanor Roosevelt became one of the world’s great travelers in her search for pertinent information concerning the state of all nations. Always the champion of the underdog, she gradually evolved into a figure alone and apart. Neither her husband’s death nor her own advancing age cut down the influence of this notable woman upon notable events.

An Excerpt from a Review by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The New York Times, October 12, 1958.

First Lady of the World
Mrs. R.: The Story of Eleanor Roosevelt. By Alfred Steinberg. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Mr. Steinberg has gone through the Roosevelt literature and talked with many survivors of the Roosevelt era. He was also, he states, permitted to examine “the personal papers, record books and voluminous correspondence of Mrs. Roosevelt.” (Unfortunately “Mrs. R.” contains no footnotes, and one cannot usually distinguish between what is quoted from a document and what has popped up in someone’s recollection.) He begins with the troubled childhood, describes the reluctant emergence of the shy and awkward girl and follows through the transformation into the capable but somewhat gushing matron and finally into the incomparable First Lady of the World.The story is told briskly and sympathetically but not. altogether uncritically; on such matters as the Roosevelts as parents, Mr. Steinberg writes with candor. The result is a piece of intelligent and readable, journalism. …

…I think,too, that Mrs Roosevelt who emerges from this book as a somewhat blander character than she really is. Mr, Steinberg quotes from one of her letters to President Truman. “There are two things which I wish to avoid above all else,” Mrs, Roosevelt wrote, “one, war; two, a Republican victory.” These two wishes express succinctly the different aspects of Mrs. Roosevelt’s personality: on the one hand, the luminous idealist, yearning for the good, the true and the beautiful; on the other, the old pro, filled with canny and salty realism. Mr. Steinberg does more Justice to the first than to the second.

Harlem: People, Power and Politics, 1900-1950 by Roi Ottley

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Editorial reviews of the book at its original publication in 1943 with the original title of ‘New World A-Coming’ Inside Black America.

“Vigorous prose…his book should be read as widely as possible.” —The New York Times.
“A fine book, searching, temperate, and wise.” —The New Yorker.
“A truly remarkable book, rich in scholarship and human sympathy…One of the most important books of our time.” —Chicago News.
“A shrewd, lively and often surprising interpretation of the present state of mind of Negro America.” —Lewis Gannett, New York Herald Tribune.

An Excerpt from the 1943 review of the book with its original title “New World A-Coming: Inside Black America,” in the New York Times, August 10, 1943
From Books of the Times
by John Chamberlain
THIS is a war for democracy,” says the anti-Hitler white American. “Brother,” said the Negro, “I’m going to hold you to that.”
The Negro’s tone is polite. But it is firm. Both the firmness and the politeness are in Roi Ottley’s “New “World A-Coming: Inside Black America,” which started out to be a book about Harlem and ended up by becoming a book about the Negro’s position in wartime America. Mr. Ottley, who spent seven years covering Harlem as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Amsterdam Star News, knows both his home locale and the wider impli­cations of his subject. He writes a vigorous prose, mingling his­tory, humor, irony, drama and sober re­flection in a work that explains the cur­rent status and the wholly reasonable demands of the Negro as no other book does.
In 1900 Harlem was a cheerful neighborhood of broad drives, brownstone fronts and quiet, almost suburban aloofness. Its small Negro population consisted of the black aristocracy, in­cluding Bert Williams, the actor, and Harry T. Burleigh, the composer. As the little Negro com­munity expanded, racial warfare broke out, a war that the white real estate men were winning up to the time when the Pennsylvania Railroad, seeking a site for a new central terminal, paid $510,000 in cash for a Negro church in the Thirty-third Street district With this money Negroes bought thirteen large apartment houses on 135th Street near Lenox Avenue, and the modern his­tory of Harlem had begun.
Mr. Ottley traces that history in all its tumultuous ramifications. Harlem is colored. But color in Harlem is infinitely subdivided, with African, Mongolian, European, Indian and Latin-American mixtures making the place an anthropologist’s despair—or paradise. Since the purchase of the thirteen apartment houses on 135th Street black Harlem has become a by-word for overcrowding. In the Twenties Harlem had its brief springtime. “Keed” Chocolate, Tiger Flowers and Battling Siki paraded its streets; Marcus Garvey preached his back-to-Africa doctrine and sold stock in his Black Star steamship line, which ultimately failed for thousands of dollars. The Negro renaissance was under way, with Paul Robeson, Roland Hayes and Charles Gilpin becoming big-time names. But the Twenties faded swiftly into the depression years—the era of Father Divine and his comforting Heavens, and of Joe Louis who did more than anyone else to save the self-respect of a race. …
With his chapter on Joe Louis Roi Ottley moves out of Harlem into the broad currents of Negro life in America. He writes vividly of the newest Negro leaders—Adam Clayton Powell, the cru­sading preacher; A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, president of the National Council of Negro Women; Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson, who refuse to sing for segre­gated audiences; Ted Poston, racial adviser to-Elmer Davis; Dr. Robert C. Weaver, the first Negro ever to earn a Ph. D. in economics from Harvard University, and Chrystal Bird Fauset, adviser to Dean Landis, head of the Office of Civilian Defense. Added to the names of older Negro leaders such as Walter White, these make an imposing list.
The Axis, says Mr. Ottley in his concluding chapters, can be decisively beaten only by men who are committed to an extension of democracy to the black world. For if the war turns out to be anything less than a fight to make the princi­ples of the Bill of Rights a reality in this country, the kick-back is apt to be disastrous. Mr. Ottley says the Asiatic world is watching America, quite aware of the fact that a nation which is unable to solve its color problems at home will never be able to take the lead in creating a free world every­where. Since Mr. Ottley speaks for a people that has determinedly clenched its jaws, his book should have the widest possible reading. The Negro today is on march. Mr. Ottley tells us both how and why.