Watson (political science, Univ. of Hawai'i, Hilo; The Presidents' Wives, 1999) has compiled a literate and concise collection of brief biographical sketches of the first ladies, introduced by an eight-page reflection on the job. The book is current an entry on Laura Bush is included but the biographies are short: Eleanor Roosevelt gets seven pages of text; Abigail Adams, six. Watson also sketches the four wives who did not live to join their husbands in the White House and, cursorily, the women who served in their place. Each entry begins with a listing of vital statistics (e.g., other marriages, number of children), then goes on to describe in a couple of paragraphs "early years," "marriage," "family life," "presidency," and "legacy," followed by a short bibliography. Helpful appendixes, each a single page, list each woman's formal education, birthplace, age on becoming first lady, age at marriage, and length of marriage. This compact dictionary serves its purpose. Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Watson (political science, U. of Hawai'i-Hilo) profiles each first lady from Martha Washington to the current first lady, Laura Welch Bush. Each entry discusses the first lady's early years and education, her family life, her presidential years, and her achievements in her role as first lady. Appendices list statistics, such as the first ladies' formal education, birthplaces, ages on marrying and becoming first lady, and biographies of five women who died before their husbands became president. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)