First Ladies

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First Ladies

Dez 12, 2008, 2:54 pm

We can use this thread to post any books, etc related specifically to the First Ladies.

Dez 15, 2008, 7:29 pm

Happiness is this thread!!!

Dez 15, 2008, 10:52 pm

Abigail Adams one of my favorites. We can learn as much about him from reading about her as we can reading his biographies.

Some of my favorities:
Dearest Friend: A Life of Abigail Adamsby Lynne Withey
The book of Abigail and John : selected letters of the Adams family
Patriot Hearts: A Novel of the Founding Mothers by Barbara Hambly
Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Dez 16, 2008, 8:38 am

I recently finished up The Madness of Mary Lincoln. Quite a good book, very balanced. Before I read it, I knew Mary was odd and was often controversial during Lincoln's presidency, but knew very little about her life after the assassination. If you're looking for a good book on her later life, this is a good one to start with.

Dez 23, 2008, 10:50 am

Ladybird Johnson is one who especially interests me. Now that I've found this thread, I'll go out and look for my book. Any suggestions?

Dez 23, 2008, 2:17 pm

Bookmarks magazine has a column on books about First Ladies in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue. They mention two books about Lady Bird Johnson:

A White House Diary - Lady Bird Johnson - An autobiography that focuses on on years as first lady and her environmentalist activism.

Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson - Jan Jarboe Russell - This book is based on interviews with Lady Bird Johnson conducted over the course of three years.

If you read one of these, or find others, I'd be interested to know what you think.

Dez 23, 2008, 5:41 pm

I had seen one named Texas Bluebonnet: Lady Bird Johnson which looked really interesting. It supposedly tells about how she helped LBJ during the WWII, his health problems and then as First lady. To me, it looked more in depth then others I had looked at.

Editado: Dez 28, 2008, 7:11 pm

I just picked up Ruffles and Flourishes: The Warm and Tender Story of a Simple Girl Who Found Adventure in the White House by Liz Carpenter, Lady Bird's press secretary. I met Lady Bird once about 8 or 9 years ago--she was already in a wheelchair but was very gracious.

I also have, but haven't read, Florence Harding: The First Lady, the Jazz Age, and the Death of America's Most Scandalous President by Carl Sferrazza Anthony.

Ack!! The touchstone for Ruffles and Flourishes looks like it's working when I edit the message, but it doesn't show up when I post.

Editado: Jan 5, 2009, 9:37 pm

Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts is also a really good read if you are interested in Colonial times.

Oh, and of course Living History by Hillary Clinton is a good one as well.

Fev 24, 2009, 1:37 pm

Just finished Dearest Friend about Abigail Adams, and found it an interesting read. However, I was upset at the carelessness of the printer/publisher in proofing the work--someone who read this volume before me actually corrected the errors--and there were plenty of typesetting errors which should have been corrected before the book was released.

Nonetheless, the book, which has a very slow section in the middle, was most interesting because of the use of the Adamses's correspondence to illustrate Withey's points. It is a good introduction to the second First Lady.

Fev 24, 2009, 4:25 pm

Prop2g...I'm just curious, I remember reading Dearest Friend and I am the most obnoxious stickler for typos (very frustrated copy editor) --- I cringe when I see books that have poor proofing so I wonder if there are different editions running around ? Or could it perhaps be that these are different spellings prevalent in 'ye olden days' ? I know that it drives me crazy to see f instead of s, and some of the different spellings and pronounds that were used in times long past.

Fev 24, 2009, 4:43 pm

Nope, these are not the "olden" days stuff. It's the missing "of" as in "one the named" type of thing, although my absolute favorite was a sentence in which Mercy Otis Warren is identified as the husband of James Warren.

I understood that when we were reading letters of the time that there would be misspellings and stuff. It was the modern descriptive language that was potful of the errors. The book I read was a first edition published by Torch, so there's really no excuse here. If I had paid $25 for a copy, I'd have been really upset.

Fev 24, 2009, 5:23 pm

Let's hope perhaps that a Torch publisher is monitoring reviews of their publications ;-)

Mar 28, 2009, 6:05 pm

LADIES OF LIBERTY: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
AUTHOR: Cokie Roberts
Pages: 512
listened to on audio

Ladies of Liberty shows the history of the United States through the eyes of some the most noted women of the historic age. The book starts at the time of the death of George Washington and sweeps over six presidencies, beginning with John Adams’s election in 1797 and ending with his son’s John Quincy Adam’s election in 1825. Using the personal correspondence of the women depicted, these women’s personal sacrifices are exposed along with their contributions to the success of an expanding nation.
The First ladies are not the only women represented in this book. Even though the primary women are Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and Louisa Adams, other notable women recognized are Sacagawea, Mother Seton, and Margaret Smith.
I was a little apprehensive when I realized that Cokie Roberts, the author, was actually going to be doing the reading (this book was on audio.). I was extremely pleased by her delivery and the enthusiasm with which she delivered the material. My only problem were with two small pronunciations but since they were quite frequent, it was a little irritating. (Cokie Roberts cannot pronounce New Orleans or Sacagawea properly. Both have a "ya" in her pronunciations.)
Nevertheless, this was an extremely enjoyable experience.

Abr 4, 2009, 3:17 pm

I'm embarrassed to say I have read Nancy Reagan by Kitty Kelley which was a scathing tell all book that came out shortly after the Reagan's left the White House, but it still gives a lot of insight into Nancy Reagan and her motivation to protect Ronnie from people she felt were doing him a diservice. Enlightening in regard to the Reagan White House behind the scenes and when Reagan was governor in California.

Out 7, 2009, 6:50 am

Finished Patricia Brady's biography Martha Washington: An American Life. Written in a breezy, easy to digest style, it's a very fast read about Martha's life and an excellent window into the time -- what daily and social life was like for the Washingtons. After his death, Martha destroyed most of the letters she and George had written to one another, so much of what is known comes from other correspondence from a variety of sources and public records. Martha and George were devoted to one another and seemed to have had a marriage based on trust and mutual affection.

Martha had four children by her first husband, but only two survived. She was widowed seven years after their marriage.

Martha and George must have been a striking pair standing side by side. She was petite, five feet tall to George's six feet, two+ inches, and she had small feet and hands. She joined her husband for winter camp each year during war, and also had herself inoculated with the smallpox virus during that first winter.

It does seem sad they never had children of their own, and Martha's two children by her first marriage died fairly young as adults, but they had a rich family life caring for their extended family members and even adopted two of their grandchildren.

I recommend it to anyone who is really interested in the way of life during this period. It's full of detail without ever feeling bogged down by it, and the image we get of George Washington is consistent with other books I've read about him.

Nov 6, 2009, 9:39 am

This is my first ladies' ticker:

#3 Sally Hemings The Hemingses of Monticello *****. Does Sally count as Jefferson's wife? If not, she should. This is a great book (won the Pulitzer this year). It not only puts you into Jefferson's world, but also the Hemingses' world and what it was like to be a slave.

#4 Dolley Madison A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation *1/2. This is probably one of the worst books I ever read. The author tries to turn Dolley Madison into someone with political relevance, and it doesn't work. Dolley was interesting but unfortunately she created the first lady role that was very stifling for women.

#32 Eleanor Roosevelt Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 1 ****, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2 **, No Ordinary Time *****. Eleanor transformed the role of First Lady from the stifling, tea-party hosting job that Dolley started into a political, independent office that made a real difference in the lives of Americans. Blanche Wiesen Cook's two biographies are definitive, and I strongly recommend the first (ALA Notable book), which details how ER went from a passive, meek housewife to a strong independent woman after discovering about Franklin's affair with Lucy Mercer. Unfortunately, the second volume is not as strong. Hopefully, the third will be better. And No Ordinary Time (won the Pulitzer) is one of my favorite books ever, covering a lot of the same ER ground as Blanche Wiesen Cook's Volume 1, but in a much more compelling style. It is interesting to note again how point of view comes into play to influence how history is perceived, as Blanche Wiesen Cook, a lesbian, is convinced that ER had an affair with Lorena Hickok, while Doris Kearns Goodwin, a heterosexual, is not convinced.

#42 Hillary Rodham Clinton Living History ****, The Hunting of the President **** (both read before LT). Both are great reads, but the best book to read is obviously Living History. The audio version (Hillary reads herself) is also excellent - I think she may have won the Grammy for it???

Set 10, 2010, 9:38 pm

I have read several books on the First Ladies Barbara Bush by Lillian Killan also Reflections by Barbara Bush What I enjoyed about her books was her detail of her many travels and entertaining people from all over the world. The books told of a lot of different types of cultures which I enjoy reading about. Regardless of how you feel politically, I love her desire to keep very active.

I read Nancy Reagan by Michael Deaner as well. One thing to say about Nancy is she always looked very poised and seemed to really love her husband.

I absolutely loved the Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt. I really admire her desire to see things change and being willing to step out and make it happen.

Regardless of how some may feel politically as well I really like Laura Bush. I love her desire to read and to try and draw others into reading, especially children. We do have her to thank for the great Nation Book Festival that has taken place the last 9 years in D.C. I have been to 5 or 6 and really enjoyed each one. I have read An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady by Ronald Kessler as well as her new book out this past year Spoken from the Heart.

I was just at Barnes and Noble tonight looking at a book about Abigail Adams and think she will probably be my next Presidential Wife read.


Editado: Nov 26, 2010, 7:25 pm

I have on my shelf, but have not read yet,

Abigail Adams: A Biography by Phyllis Lee Levin, 1987 St. Martin's Press/New York. A Thomas Dunne Book. ISBN: 0312000073. Bought it at a Goodwill store for $2.50 a couple of years ago.

Will probably tackle this on in a year or so.

Bill Masom

Ago 3, 2012, 8:54 pm

I just finished Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir which is written by Clint Hill, the secret service man that was assigned to her as first lady. Much of it seemed like a travelogue, but it was very interesting to read about life for her in and outside the White House and especially riveting and sad describing the events of the assassination and aftermath. I recommend it for anyone interested in the Kennedy White House or the Secret Service.

Mar 18, 2013, 9:42 pm

Here are a few I enjoyed about Mrs. Clinton:

The Case Against Hillary Clinton by Peggy Noonan
Hell To Pay by Barbara Olson
No One Left To Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family by Christopher Hitchens

Mar 19, 2013, 8:02 am

The first ladies I most admire in history are Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, Barbara Bush, Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Least would be Mary Todd Lincoln, Edith Wilson, Nancy Reagan. Of all of them, Hilary is the only figure to win great renown outside of the space of First Lady with tremendous respect on both sides of the aisles. She was without doubt the finest Secretary of State in the post-WW II era, a point on which many of her political rivals and enemies in both parties privately agree. It is possible that she will be the first First Lady to become POTUS. Time will tell.

Mar 19, 2013, 1:46 pm

"with tremendous respect on both sides of the aisles."

-- Huh?

Condoleeza Rice was without doubt the finest Secretary of State in the post-WW II era, a point on which many of her political rivals and enemies in both parties privately agree. It is possible that she will be the first black female to become POTUS. Time will tell. We can only hope.

Mar 19, 2013, 2:33 pm

I guess there is a consensus:

Bill and Hillary: The Marriage
American Evita: Hillary Clinton's Path to Power
Hillary: The Politics of Personal Destruction
Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton
The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All the Wrong Places
The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President
I've Always Been a Yankees Fan: Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words
Hillary's Scheme: Inside the Next Clinton's Ruthless Agenda to Take the White House
The First Partner: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Condi vs. Hillary : The Next Great Presidential Race
Can She Be Stopped? : Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States Unless ....
Hillary's Secret War: The Clinton Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists
Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House
Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton
Tag Teaming the Press: How Bill and Hillary Clinton Work Together to Handle the Media
The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party
Big sister is watching you
Hillary Clinton Nude: Naked Ambition, Hillary Clinton and America's Demise
For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years
Hillary Clinton: Her Way: The Biography
State of a union: inside the complex marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton
Clinton Confidential: The Climb to Power
The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Rodham Clinton
The True Believer
It Takes a Family
Heather Has Two Mommies

Editado: Mar 19, 2013, 8:35 pm

#23 I have tried repeatedly to divorce myself from a discussion with you that I never chose to engage in. I think you are poisoning this thread and the entire greater thread of the Presidents with your commentary. If you had a public persona like everyone else I could exchange comments with you directly, but you choose to hide behind a private LT identity that is shut down so no one can message you, which I find both cowardly and distasteful. You can read dozens of books, but your politics govern you, so you cannot learn, you cannot analyze, you cannot gain wisdom. You can only attack and disdain. If he met you, JFK and Lincoln would shake their heads, but I think Teddy Roosevelt, were he alive and in the same room room with you, would probably punch you in the nose just for good measure.

In any event, my comments on these threads are not directed at you and I have no interest in debating you. There's nothing to see here, could you please move on ... thank you!

Mar 19, 2013, 8:14 pm

Personal attacks are against the TOS. So I have flagged 22. I invite others to do the same in order to maintain a healthy debate where people of opposing views can disagree.

Like everyone else, I will post whatever, however, and whenever I wish so long as I do not violate the TOS. After seven years here, I know how things work. I have done nothing wrong. I have done nothing but express well-informed, thoughtful views which happen to disagree with previous posts. I have listed links to books, often without any commentary. If there are posts which continue to attack me personally, I will continue to flag those posts.

A Group about political biographies will necessarily reveal the biases of both the writers (of biographies) and the readers (of those biographies). These biases are revealed in posts. Most posts focus only on the quality of a book, what the reader learned, and avoid political argument. But some posts claim to be the final word. In any political group, like this one, there will be disagreement, especially if there are posts like 22 which give opinions as though they were facts, written in prose that is so absolutist, dogmatic, and magisterial that it invites a response. I accept the invitation. There is a whole country of people who think differently from the people in New England. Think of me as their middle American ambassador bringing wisdom to the unenlightened.

If a poster does not want to debate, then he should not not debate—i.e., he should not post. If a poster is offended by and intolerant of diversity of opinion, he should not post. Disagreement should not be responded to with name-calling, accusations, insults, and, in 22, the implied threat of violence. Such posts violate the TOS and I will not tolerate them.

And now, a little Grand Funk Railroad…

Mar 19, 2013, 8:49 pm

#26 Physically threatened? TOS? Dude, are you unhinged? I don't even know your email. And how do I represent New England? This is nuts.

Why don't you do the sane thing & give me a way to PM you so we can take this conversation out of the spotlight. This has to be embarrassing for you ...

Mar 22, 2013, 10:37 pm

Unhinged? No...dude. Embarrassed? No.

Take it Outside if you want.

Maio 2, 2015, 12:49 pm

Time for something new on here.
I have recently dabbled in All the President's Ladies by Peter Hay.
It is a collection of really interesting anecdotes collected from many different pertinent sources. Is it informative? Of course it is. It tells of interesting and important people who have helped shape America as we know it. Admittedly, it does not treat any one person with deep investigative reporting but it was never intended to do that. It is a fun book to dip into in order to get more understanding of our Presidents themselves. I liked it.

Maio 11, 2015, 12:32 pm

When I finish all the president books, I'd like to go back and read the First Ladies and other people who were influential to the presidents.

Fev 19, 2020, 4:53 pm

I am starting to read the First Lady books backwards in order. I have started with

Becoming by Michelle Obama. I listened to this on audiobook read by her and it was fantastic.

Mar 25, 2020, 6:29 pm

>31 swimmergirl1: Great idea!

My MIL gave me First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic Women a couple years ago and I'll eventually get around to it!

Editado: Jul 23, 2020, 4:11 pm

Abigail Adams, A Life by Woody Holton.