A year later, Martha’s idyllic life ends World War II explodes and the Germans invade Norway. While her husband and father-in-law stay protect the nation, Martha and her children first escape to her native Sweden before traveling to the United States. Taking refuge within the walls of the White house, she start to advocate for her native land. This advocacy could be damaging in two equally important areas: her marriage and the tenuous world politics of the era.
The first episode is absolutely brilliant. Helin is perfectly cast as Martha, who could have easily been a shrinking violet, relying on the men around her. But she is smart, tough, and passionate. I wasn’t sure about the casting of MacLachlan and Sansom Harris (who also played the same role in the Netflix series Hollywood) as FDR and Eleanor. But upon seeing the full scene, the spiritual representations of these giants of American history seem to be so far pretty good.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Atlantic Crossing airs on PBS Sunday night at 9PM.
Some people know from an early age that they are going to change the world. Others simply change their world by being a decent human being and seeing the injustice that is forced on others.
The new Eleanor Roosevelt biography, titled Eleanor, was written by David Michaelis. Published last fall, this is an extensive womb to tomb biography of the late former First Lady. Born in 1884 in New York City to the wealthy and respected Roosevelt family, her childhood was not a happy one. She lost both of her parents and her younger brother by the she was a teenager. As a young woman, she married her fifth cousin and future President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Their marriage not all sunshine and roses. But it became the platform she needed to become one of the greatest social justice warriors of the 20th century. Whether or not she knew it, Eleanor was a proto-feminist while serving as First Lady. Instead of quietly following in the footsteps of her predecessors, she became an activist. While other women were just starting to step out of the traditionally female world, she jumped whole heartedly into the causes she believed in.
This book is a masterpiece. It is gripping, entertaining, and humanizes a giant of American history. I will warn however, that it is far from a short read. But it is completely worth it, taking the reader behind the public image to see real woman behind the myth.
Dec 7th, 1941, was a day that started like any other. By the time the day was over, the United States, which up to that point has stayed out of World War II, was ready to fight. Over two thousand American soldiers were killed and nearly 1200 were wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
From our modern perspective, World War II was a clean war. What I mean by a clean war was that the objectives were simple. Protect democracy, protect human rights and fight against those who would be happiest in a world where they alone had political power. The wars that followed World War II were not as clean. There were questions of motives, both political and financial and if the cost of the lives lost was worth the war.
The men and women who fought and died in World War II are called The Greatest Generation. They laid down their lives so we could be free. Today, on the 77th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we remember them, thank them and hope that they will continue to be remembered for years to come.
In the novel, Roth re-wrote history. In 1940, FDR lost the presidential election to Charles Lindbergh. Soon after taking office, Lindbergh not only blamed the Jews for America’s ills, but also negotiated a sort of peace with Germany. The Jews in America, who thought they were safe from the racist, anti-Semitic world that their European brethren lived will soon discover that they will soon be no better off than the Jews of Europe.
We read and re-reading Philip Roth because, like all great writers, he has a way of speaking directly to his readers, regardless of their religious or cultural background.
As they say in our mutual religion, may his memory be a blessing. Not only to those who knew him on a personal level, but also to the millions who have read and loved his books over the years.
In 2005, this period of FDR’s was dramatized in the TV movie, Warm Springs. Stepping into the fictionalized shoes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon. While FDR is being treated for polio, he is helping to revitalize the spa and inspire the other patients, in addition to trying to keep his marriage afloat.
In American politics and American history, both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt are giants. In humanizing the main characters, the audience sees another to the late President and First Lady that only a select few during his time in office saw.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”-Carrie Fisher
Fear is not a tangible thing. It’s not something we can physically pick up and hold in our hands. But yet feel it. We can smell it, we can taste it.
One of the podcasts I regularly listen to is Problogger (which I highly recommend for my fellow bloggers). One of the things that came up in this week’s podcast was fear. Fear of starting the blog, fear of not being good enough as a blogger, fear that no one will read the blog, etc.
Fear is not entirely bad thing. The fight or flight reflex has been built into our bodies and minds for a purpose. But the question is, when we are looking straight at what scares us, do we have the courage to walk past our fears or do we let our fears stop us?
I know this question is not easy to answer. When faced with the choice of facing our fears or running away, many of us will run.
But what would happen if we didn’t run away, if we faced our fears, not knowing the consequences?
In my own life, I’ve found that when I face my fears, no matter how difficult or scary it seems, I come just a little stronger and a little more confident.
Facing our fears is often the hardest thing we will ever do. But it’s the only way we will ever most past them.
December 7th, A Day That Will Live In Infamy- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Every generation has that event that forever alters their collective lives. For the Greatest Generation, the event is Pearl Harbor.
The 2001 film, Pearl Harbor, is the story of America’s forced entry into World War II. Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett) are best friends. Rafe falls in love with Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). Rafe is then transferred to England while Danny and Evelyn are transferred to Pearl Harbor. Things become complicated when Danny and Evelyn’s relationship becomes more than platonic. Then the Japanese attack.
This is a typical Michael Bay movie. The action and special effects are wonderful. The plot needs some tweaking.
Were the critics wrong? Not entirely. Comparisons to Titanic are inevitable (semi weak story, poorly written dialogue, major historical event, incredible special effects, etc). But where Titanic succeeds, Pearl Harbor fails.
Do I recommend this movie? If the audience is looking for historical accuracy, no. If they are looking for a typical Michael Bay film, yes.
In his speech earlier this week, President Obama spoke of fighting the terrorists that are responsible for the deaths of innocents around the world recently. The key phrase that he did not utter, and should have was “extremist Muslim terrorist”.
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
While most people who adhere to the Islamic faith simply want to live their lives as normally and peacefully as possible, some of their religious compatriots have twisted their religion into an excuse to kill and destroy.
I completely disagree with with his choice of words. I understand what President Obama is trying to do, he is trying to smooth the waters as much as possible. However, when facing an enemy whose singular goal is to destroy the world, kill as many people as they can and then remake the world into their own image, our leaders must publicly and loudly take a stand against this kind of violence.
The Allies understood that during World War II. Led by Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, the Allies met at the Tehran Conference in 1943 t0 make a public stand against the Nazis and pull their resources together to win the war. The goal of the Nazi party was not that different from from Isis, Hezbollah, or any of the extremist Muslim groups that frequently make headlines. The difference was that the leaders of the then free world understood what was needed to ensure the freedom and security of future generations.
President Obama seems to have his head in the sand in regards to this issue. I wonder what the history book will say about him in the future. Will be he remembered as the Bill Clinton of his era or the Jimmy Carter of his era? I suspect that many people of this generation will look at him the way that Americans of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s looked at Jimmy Carter.
PBS has become a staple of my Sunday night television viewing, thanks to Downton Abbey.
But with the American premiere of Downton Abbey several months away, PBS still keeps rolling out great programming to keep their audience entertained until January.
Tonight, PBS aired the first episode of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. This multi part miniseries follows the lives of former Theodore Roosevelt, his niece Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband, former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Using a single narrative as the structure of the documentary, Ken Burns and his team start with the birth of Theodore in the 1850’s and will end with the death of Eleanor in the 1960’s.
It is more than a stiff and predictable documentary. Using pictures, archival footage, newspaper accounts of the day and personal letters and diaries, these three giants of American history are brought back to life. Another stroke of genius was to use notable actors to record the personal writing of the three subjects. Paul Giamatti is the voice of Theodore, Meryl Streep is the voice of Eleanor and Edward Hermann is the voice of Franklin.
I was so enthralled that I thought it was a fictional Shakespearean drama, not a real life story of one of the greatest political families that this country has ever seen. I highly recommend it and I am looking forward to the next chapter tomorrow night.