President's Families

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President's Families

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Editado: Out 7, 2010, 5:30 pm

The Raising of a President by Doug Wead
I enjoyed this book much more than I did "All the President's Children". Dare I suggest that Mr. Wead wrote that one for a completely different audience, GWB? I hope not. It may be because that book was written like a collection of mini bios and, because it was, that's how I read it. This one is written more in sections on individual families and it reads in a far more interesting way.
OK, the mini bios do come at the back of the book. By the time I got to them I was actually looking for something like that.
The first five sections were great stories all by themselves: The Founding Fathers and Mothers, The Enigmatic Rise of Abraham Lincoln, The Roosevelts, The Kennedys and The Bushes. Following these was A Chronological List of the President's Parents - here were the mini bios - and these were necessary to complete the history. The only other way would have been to write 43 separate books and that wasn't the intent. I doubt that it would have been possible to collect enough information to flesh out something like that anyway.
Mr. Wead is currently working on a third book about Presidential families, this one will discuss siblings of the elected person. I'm looking forward to that.

Jun 20, 2015, 10:44 am

First Mothers by Bonnie Angelo
The book is sub-titled: "The Women Who Shaped the Presidents." Ms. Angelo is a journalist who says that she spent much time covering Presidents and hearing them pay tribute to their mothers and rarely to their fathers. Therein she saw meat for chewing on.
The sources for discussion of the men who preceded Franklin Roosevelt range from sketchy through guesswork to non-existent so that's where she started, with Sara Delano Roosevelt. The book was published in the year 2000 so it finishes with Virginia Cassidy Clinton, who could easily go by other surnames.
I enjoyed the book. But then I like and admire women so I probably would have anyway, even were these not the mothers of some heavy-hitting men. Alexis de Tocqueville, the French Foreign Minister of the early 1800s, also liked women, I think. He noted to his European readers: "If I were asked to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of America might be attributed, I should reply, To the superiority of their women." Should he be alive today to read this book, he may still agree with that assessment.