Reviews for First Ladies


Book News Reviews
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 copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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Library Journal Reviews 1995 September
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. Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1995 August #4
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.) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

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