First Ladies: An Intimate Group Portrait of White House Wives

First Ladies: An Intimate Group Portrait of White House Wives

3.3 8
by Margaret Truman
     
 

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This well-informed, intimate look at 29 women whose lives were intertwined with those who lead and have led this country presents forthright interviews with Lady Bird Johnson, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, and others, while warmly recalling Pat Nixon and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Ms. Truman's legendary frankness is present but so, too, is a generosity of spirit.

Overview

This well-informed, intimate look at 29 women whose lives were intertwined with those who lead and have led this country presents forthright interviews with Lady Bird Johnson, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, and others, while warmly recalling Pat Nixon and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Ms. Truman's legendary frankness is present but so, too, is a generosity of spirit. Photos throughout.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Truman's look at the nation's first ladies features capsule accounts of a selective number of women who have shared the White House with their husbands. She includes the obvious subjects such as Martha Washington, Dolley Madison, Mary Todd Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt and all the modern presidents' wives, along with lesser-known first ladies as Julia Grant and Julia Tyler. Although Truman, a mystery writer (Murder in the White House) provides a brief background on the women she profiles, she focuses, naturally enough, on their White House years and the roles they played in their husbands' administrations. And Truman attributes to the first ladies plenty of influence over their mates, asserting on numerous occasions that they have played major parts in changing the course of history (e.g., how Dolley Madison's courage helped her husband, and the country, recover from the War of 1812). But her light approach makes it difficult to tell whether she seriously believes her assertion that Rachel Jackson and Lou Hoover died of broken hearts because of the negative publicity about themselves and their husbands. Photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Truman writes about first ladies with the obvious advantage of an insider, having spent her young adulthood in the White House. Her book is a tribute to both her parents-her father urged a study of presidential wives, and her mother exemplified the role of a supportive partner. Rather than following a strict chronology and discussing every first lady, Truman draws comparisons and contrasts. Lady Bird Johnson is judged the most successful first lady; Florence Harding the least. Lucy Hayes's interest in improving the lives of the poor and Ellen Wilson's interest in slum clearance foreshadowed Eleanor Roosevelt's career. Truman concludes that first ladies should provide public support to the president but there is no single pattern to follow, and each lady needs to fill that role in her own way. Truman's work is the latest popular treatment of presidential wives, following surveys with the same title including Carl Sferrazza Anthony's two-volume set (LJ 8/90, 4/1/91) and Betty Boyd Caroli's soon-to-be updated book (LJ 9/1/87). Recommended for public libraries.-Patricia A. Beaber, Trenton State Coll. Lib., N.J.
Booknews
On personal & public styles. Truman interviewed the madames Johnson, Ford, Reagan, Carter, Bush, and Clinton and carefully researched all the first ladies. And of them she writes with a practiced, skillful hand. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307420541
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/30/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
279,991
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Mary Margaret Truman (1924-2008), who wrote under the name Mary Truman, was originally a singer before she began her successful writing career. The daughter of President Harry, she was the author of the Capital Crimes mystery series as well as a several nonfiction books about the First Ladies and First Families, including a biography of her father.

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First Ladies: An Intimate Group Portrait of White House Wives 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyable short biographies that will propel one into expanded readings.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth a read for the unique perspective of the daughter of a President who lived the White House experience.  Organized, not chronologically, but by the similar characteristics of the First Ladies.  I learned a lot I did not know and as someone said, it will give you the itch to delve deeper into the lives of the First Ladies that most interest you.