Books: The Spur

ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN by Joseph P. Lash. 765 pages. Norton. $12.50.

Eleanor Roosevelt's childhood sounds almost too bad to be true. To her father Elliott, she was "a miracle from heaven," but Elliott was usually drunk. Her mother Anna was a New York beauty who wanted "a precious boy." Aunt Edith took one look and concluded: "Her mouth and teeth seem to have no future." When she proved to be a solemn child, her mother took to referring to her as "Granny."

There were other misfortunes. For two tender years she painfully wore a metal...

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