“O’Farrell breaks through the confusing acronyms of New Deal agencies and changing labor unions to reveal a compassionate story about workers and ER. Highly recommended for all readers interested in unions, workers, human rights, and Eleanor Roosevelt.”
- Library Journal
“She Was One of Us is a fine account of Eleanor Roosevelt’s evolving philosophy and activism on behalf of organized labor. O’Farrell is the first to describe Roosevelt’s lifelong commitment to the U.S. labor movement. She portrays Roosevelt convincingly as an advocate who fearlessly challenged antilabor pundits and corrupt labor leaders whose power grabs tainted efforts to aid U.S. workers. An excellent resource for those interested in better understanding Eleanor Roosevelt, New Deal and post-World War II politics, and U.S. labor history during the twentieth century. Highly recommended..
“She demonstrates how Roosevelt used her ‘My Day’ columns and articles to support labor, particularly in opposing the Taft-Hartley Act and right-to-work laws.” (www.journalofamericanhistory.org/issues/982/). -JOHN THOMAS MCGUIRE, The Journal of American History, September 2011.
“O’Farrell organizes her book around two central themes: how Eleanor Roosevelt got so smart about working-class life, and how she used what she learned. In this book, Eleanor’s relationship to Franklin is only a small part of her story, and that analytic shift opens new vistas on her career…With regard to originality, however, Brigid O’Farrell’s She Was One of Us stands head and shoulders above the others.” – PRISCILLA MUROLO, Women’s Review of Books, Fall 2011.
“This well-researched and clearly written book…fills an important gap in the literature — Mrs. Roosevelt’s relationship with the labor movement, which was extensive but little written about…Farm labor was one of Roosevelt’s long time interests…Eleanor Roosevelt supported extending collective bargaining rights to agricultural workers and (along with Walter Reuther) urged AFL-CIO president George Meany to fund the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) in the early sixties.”
– KENNETH BURT, California Federation of Teachers, Political Director, and award-winning author, June 29, 2011.
“She Was One of Us is a fantastic book for college students to read because it takes them through the life of one of the most influential women in mid-twentieth-century politics, Eleanor Roosevelt, and it also helps them to learn about ER’s deep understanding of the connection between workers’ rights and human rights. Having Brigid O’Farrell visit our class through video Skype was an added treat. During her guest appearance, O’Farrell reminded my students that ER did not simply transform the role of the First Lady in the 1930s and 1940s, she set forth on campaigns to improve the lives of as many Americans as she could. My students were also inspired when they learned more about O’Farrell’s view of ER as an ever-evolving, ever-expanding individual, who grew in her strength and openness, and improved her strategies of influence over a lifetime.”
– KIM WARREN, Assistant Professor of History, University of Kansas, April 2011
“She Was One of Us is a wonderfully engaging and clearly written narrative presenting a thorough and thoughtful understanding of the development of Eleanor Roosevelt’s position on workers’ rights and human rights, and it restores ER’s place as participant, advocate and critic of the American labor movement. O’Farrell’s extensive archival research, oral interviews and reading of a substantial body of secondary literature support this scholarly endeavor. However, O’Farrell’s true hope for this book is not to reach out to the ivory tower. The tone of the book feels more like a story than a monograph. Hers is an activist’s agenda in that she has written an accessible scholarly book designed to inspire.”
– LIESL MILLER ORENIC, Working Class Studies Notes
“An important and powerful book about one of the greatest friends labor has ever had. An in-depth conversation about ER, FDR, Walter Reuther, John L. Lewis, et al. (Are you listening, Governor?).” Podcast link.
-STU LEVITAN, Books and Beats, Madison’s Progressive Talk Radio, 92.1, March 27, 2011
“This is a very rich book. Thoroughly researched and well written, it blends labor history, women’s history and political history…Even if you think you already know much about ER, this book is well worth the read.”
-JO FREEMAN, Senior Women Web, International Women’s Day, March 8, 2011
The Denver Post, Local Best Sellers, She Was One of Us in the top 10, January 17, 2011.
“Mrs. Roosevelt did not simply talk the talk-she walked the walk and actually participated in union activities.”
– ANN HOFFMAN, National Writers Union-DC, UAW Local 1981, January 2011.
“Roosevelt, of course, could be speaking today…Which brings us back to International Human Rights Day and why reminding ourselves of Eleanor Roosevelt’s passion and commitment to advancing workers’ rights is so important. In short, because she never gave up. And neither can we.”
– TULA O’CONNELL, December 10, 2010.
“And for all her fame and notoriety, her influence on FDR’s administration and her own many accomplishments, ER was always at heart a journalist in the purest sense…For those who think responsible journalism and politics don’t mix, this book should be a corrective.“
-ANDY ZIPSER, The Guild Reporter, December 1, 2010
“‘America’s First Citizen’ knew a recession is no excuse to ignore the rights of working Americans,” writes Bryce Covert at the Roosevelt Institute. “No better time than now,” she continues, “to pick up a copy of Brigid O’Farrell’s new book, She Was One Of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker. Covert calls on all of us to find a little of Eleanor Roosevelt in ourselves and in our fight for social justice.
-BRYCE COVERT, New Deal 2.0, Roosevelt Institute November 23, 2010