Memorialised as a US heroine and an iconoclastic humanitarian who sought to protect society’s marginalised, Eleanor Roosevelt also, at times, disappointed contemporaries and biographers with some of her stances. Examining a period of her life that has not been extensively explored, this book challenges the previously held universality of Eleanor Roosevelt’s humanitarianism.
The Palestinian question is used as a case study to explore the practical application of her commitment to social justice, and the author argues that, at times, Roosevelt’s humanitarianism was illogical, limited and flawed by pragmatism. New insights are provided into Eleanor Roosevelt’s human rights activism – its dichotomies, its inspiration, and the effect it had on US relations with the Middle East.
This book will appeal to academics working across a range of disciplines including history, diplomatic history, American studies, Middle Eastern studies, US foreign policy, human rights and women’s studies.
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Essence of Eleanor Roosevelt
1 – Nurturing Eleanor Roosevelt - Family and Friends
2 – Changing Cultural Times: The Roosevelts’ Evolving Support for Zionism
3 – Rooseveltian Reaction to a Zionist Palestine 1932-1945
4 – Eleanor Roosevelt Supports the Creation of Israel 1946-1947
5 – Before the Creation of Israel 1947-1948: Discussion, Disharmony, Dissent 1947-1948
6 – New Creations in 1948: The State of Israel and the Palestinian Refugees
7 – Roosevelt’s Defence of Israel: 1949-1956
8 – Eleanor Roosevelt Visits the Middle East and the Palestinian Refugees in 1952
Geraldine Kidd lectures in Adult and Continuing Education on the Middle East at University College Cork, Ireland. She was awarded her PhD from the National University of Ireland in March 2015.
"This is Eleanor Roosevelt as you've never seen her before. More often remembered as the champion of the down-trodden and an international advocate of equality, Geraldine Kidd shows us that even Eleanor's humanitarian activism had blind spots. Kidd vividly illustrates how Eleanor's childhood and patrician upbringing, so imbued with the ideology of a White Man's Burden, led to her comprehension of the Middle East and helped set in motion the U.S. commitment to a Jewish state." - Michael Patrick Cullinane, University of Roehampton, London.
"This is a fine and original piece of scholarship that exposes a side of Eleanor Roosevelt that has long been ignored, namely, her attitudes towards Palestinians and their rights. Many will be surprised at just how anomalous her views on Palestinians were compared with her eminently progressive and liberal attitudes to other oppressed or disadvantaged groups." - Alan P. Dobson, Swansea University