The nice thing about our new house is that the books are all in a room far, far away from my little raptors.
America's First Ladies by Christine Sadler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was written while JFK was president. It gives a brief biography of each First Lady up until then.
The writing style is dated, but in a good way. By that I mean that Sadler, while being honest about the flaws or criticism aimed at the different President's wives, she avoided the salacious gossipy tactic that seems to be popular today. She did not feel obligated to dig up dirt.
Overall, her presentation was a positive outlook on each wife with a focus on her accomplishments while she was First Lady. Prior to Eleanor Roosevelt, it seemed the primary function of the president's wives were to serve as hostess and entertain at the White House. We read a lot about each woman's taste in clothes and home decor. The White House got several renovations and re-decorations over the years.
Even though Eleanor Roosevelt started a new tradition of First Lady's being involved in the sociological conditions of the world, other First Ladies prior to her helped their husbands behind the scenes. Some wives were as politically adept as their husbands, and in some cases more so.
Each woman is presented as strong and unique in her own right in contributing to her husband's term(s) of office. I think Sadler also contributed in bringing attention to some of the lesser known wives.
She finishes with Jackie, which is bittersweet because this is written before her husband's assassination or the tragedies concerning the other Kennedy's.
All in all, an interesting book, although it ends abruptly with the death of Jackie's last baby.
It's valuable to read biographies from earlier eras because they provide another source of information where agenda's weren't quite so blatant.
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