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If You Ask Me: Essential Advice From Eleanor Roosevelt

“Quotable and surprisingly timely, this optimistic book is both bracing and comforting.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Eleanor’s ‘If You Ask Me’ columns reveal multitudes about the extraordinary relationship she forged with her fellow Americans of all races, young and old….People felt they had a right to contact Roosevelt and she felt she had a responsibility to respond.”
— Maureen Corrigan, “Fresh Air,” NPR

“A book to read periodically, and regularly…Roosevelt’s words from decades ago offer the sort of support and motivation to stay engaged with the present day.”
— The Christian Science Monitor

In 1941, Eleanor Roosevelt embarked on a new career as an advice columnist. She had already transformed the role of first lady with her regular press conferences, her activism on behalf of women, minorities, and youth, her lecture tours, and her syndicated newspaper column. When Ladies Home Journal offered her an advice column, she embraced it as yet another way for her to connect with the public. “If You Ask Me” quickly became a lifeline for Americans of all ages.

Over the twenty years that Eleanor wrote her advice column, no question was too trivial and no topic was out of bounds. Practical, warm-hearted, and often witty, Eleanor’s answers were so forthright her editors included a disclaimer that her views were not necessarily those of the magazines or the Roosevelt administration. Asked, for example, if she had any Republican friends, she replied, “I hope so.” Queried about whether or when she would retire, she said, “I never plan ahead.” As for the suggestion that federal or state governments build public bomb shelters, she considered the idea “nonsense.” Covering a wide variety of topics—everything from war, peace, and politics to love, marriage, religion, and popular culture—these columns reveal Eleanor Roosevelt’s warmth, humanity, and timeless relevance.