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
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The women who occupy the White House with their husbands are a varied, interesting, often enigmatic group. Amid constant comment and the relentless glare of the media and public, the First Lady's role has been interpreted colorfully and widely throughout our history. Hillary Rodham Clinton is not the only President's wife to inspire debate about influence, public… See more details below

Overview

The women who occupy the White House with their husbands are a varied, interesting, often enigmatic group. Amid constant comment and the relentless glare of the media and public, the First Lady's role has been interpreted colorfully and widely throughout our history. Hillary Rodham Clinton is not the only President's wife to inspire debate about influence, public versus private lives, allegiances, and the extraordinary demands of the First Lady's job. Margaret Truman, whose own role as "First Daughter" is already a beloved part of American history, has known First Ladies from Frances Cleveland to Edith Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt. For this book she has interviewed Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, and Mrs. Clinton. Pat Nixon and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis are warmly recalled. From the past come familiar names - Dolley Madison, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Grace Coolidge; surprising figures - Julia Tyler (the Julia Roberts of her day); and ingenious pairings - Julia Grant with Mamie Eisenhower. The result is a remarkable group portrait of the women who have more than merely resided in the house on Pennsylvania Avenue - a generous, candid, informed, and vastly entertaining book, written with a sense of humor and fairness and illuminated by shrewd observation.

Read More

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)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679434399
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/26/1995
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.64(h) x 1.21(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >