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All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families Paperback – January 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (January 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074344633X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743446334
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wead, who was President George H.W. Bush's special assistant, explores the dynamic bond with their presidential fathers that catapulted offspring to great success or, more often it seems, to the depths of despair. The stress of being the son or daughter of one of the most powerful men in the world, the burden of great expectations, wore away at the mental fabric of many. Some sons became alcoholics, womanizers, gamblers or just plain reckless sorts, while daughters made impossible sacrifices to gain their fathers' approval. After the death of her second son from alcoholism (the elder son drowned, perhaps a suicide), Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, said, "[Y]et another son had been sacrificed on the altar of politics." Among the most interesting of those explored are Robert Lincoln, one of the most successful yet darkest presidential sons; Alice Roosevelt, famous for her fearless tongue and her pet snake named Emily Spinach; John Eisenhower, decorated soldier and military historian; and Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who outdid his famous father on the battlefield. Also profiled are the nine weddings held in the White House. Wead includes only short bios on those presidential children still living, out of respect for their privacy. Still, there is no shortage of drama, scandal and emotion in the lives detailed here, for as Wead sums up, "Two things are unforgivable for the child of a president-success and failure." 16 pages of color photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Saturday Evening Post Compelling...captures the human side of presidential history.

U.S. News & World Report A fascinating study of the 159 first kids.

Mark Victor Hansen author of Chicken Soup for the Soul Some of the greatest missing stories of American history, told by one of America's greatest storytellers.

More About the Author

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author and former adviser to two American Presidents. He served as special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

Mr. Wead's books are known for their primary sources. He has interviewed six American presidents, seven first ladies, 19 presidential children and twelve presidential siblings.

In 1970 he co-founded the Charity Awards and was a part of the founding of Mercy Corps which has distributed $2 billion of food and medicine around the world. (See: www.dougwead.com)and (www.upstairsatthewhitehouse.com)

Customer Reviews

This book is informative and very interesting.
Matthew Barnett
The author has achieved a most dificult task - to create, from an historical account, a book that involves the reader on both an intellectual and an emotional level.
R. Mutto
For a history buff this is the best book I have read in years.
Dorenda J. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By John Godzich on February 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Doug Wead has an approach that is somewhere between history, psychology, gossip, inspiration, and side splitting humor. From young Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, it is hard to put this book down. As a fervent reader of history and biographies, I got not only what I expected, i.e., insight into the family legacies left by our nation's leaders, but also, a very funny, sometimes almost irreverent yet touching narrative with the most unexpected protagonists. Obviously, it's not easy growing up as a President's kid. Weads depiction of historical facts and events is a wonderful time machine that brings us into the most intimate moments and secrets of the anterooms of power. I'd like to get my hands on other books Wead wrote.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Leslie on February 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Doug Wead, in "All the Presidents'Children," has written a masterful book that is enticing, insightful, and brings vivid color and understanding of our American Presidents through their offspring. The lives of these children range from thrilling to tragic. It matters whom these children were, whether their youth brought smiles to the population (the adorable baby Ruth Cleveland who died too young, the vibrant Caroline and John Kennedy, Jr. who helped our nation heal) or their earnest commitment to social causes, internationalism, democracy, faith, and sacrifice (Margaret Woodrow Wilson) formed a covenant of peace with nations such as France. This book will fascinate, inspire awe, and be passed from one generation to the next. It is perfect family reading and a must for all history buffs. Each story is riveting. Each life was worthwhile and deserves our attention. Only a storyteller with the insight and sensitivity of Doug Wead could bring dignity to these distinguished and often beloved children. It truly is a "MUST READ!"
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dave Donaldson on February 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the finest historical yet entertaining books I have ever read. This book is a must read not only for lovers of history but for parents raising children. Author, Doug Wead effectively presents timeless principles from the lives of America's leaders. I plan to purchase several more copies of this book as gifts for family members, co-workers and friends.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By art lang on March 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A fun book to read, once you start it's hard to put down. It's easy to find a time frame of your special interest. The reference and source detail is the best I've ever seen. The thorough coverage on every offspring with detailed background on their lives is most impressive. These are stories that need to be told for people to truly understand the high price and sacrifice our presidents and their families make in serving our country. You must own this book for yourself and as a future reference for your children. Doug Wead deserves a special thanks for identifying this unique topic with a first class presentation.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read most of the biographies writtern in recent years about America's first families but this book is by far one of the best. The first impression you will get is the amount of work that was put into the research. I have read all the biographies available on Washington, Lincoln, Grant, kennedy, Bush and yet there was information I never read in other books. The color and black/ white photographs are a nice touch.Doug Wead has done a really good job of telling the reader what became of these Presidental children after the White House.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Ellen Connally on August 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
According to author Doug Wead, being the child of a president is a real negative factor towards childrens chances of success. This theme is pervasive though the stories of presidential children. The author rightfully points out the pressure on presidential children, even before our current media emphasis on the White House and its occupants.

But there seems to be a bit of historial snobbery in the thesis. That is to say, well into the 19th century, children were seen as little adults. The distance between presidents and their children was not merely a presidential "flaw." It was not uncommon for children to be sent to boarding schools and farmed out by parents. Child labor was not seen as a social evil. It was a different society and we should not impose our 20th century values on 18th and 19th century. Family life was different in certain sections of the society. Children were often raised by care givers rather than parents in certain levels of the society.

There is a great deal of valuable information relating to scions of presidents and some great points of trivia. The writing is straight forward and no frills. The stories prior to 1950 seem to be more comprehensive and readable perhaps because the subsequent children are still alive and it is impossible to put them into true historical context.

I read the large print edition of this work. Though this is not my usual medium, it is not the first large print that I ever read. However, the set up of the pages and the lack of an index made finding information difficult, unless you read the work like a novel. If looking for stories about specific person, there was no way to do it.

Appendix A, which is a chronological list of the presidential children was helpful in supplying basic information, but the chapter headings do not disclose the persons discussed.

The author did an admirable job. The printer of the large print edition did him a disservice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Otis E. Vanhorne on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a book that fills a void in the historical record of Presidential Families. There is piecemeal information in other volumes, but this book brings all the history into one very readable account. Mr. Wead is known to be close to the Bush Family, and thus he appears to have a personal reason to research this aspect of the Presidency.

I teach classes on"First Ladies", and my audience had urged me to tell them more about their children, but I had been largely unsuccessful at finding interesting, reliable information which covered the President's children, their joys, health, and trials and tribulations, including their similarities in how they coped with their celebrity with all its benefits and disadvantages.

This is a book that anyone who is interested in people and history should enjoy and find enlightening. This is facts, not gossip.
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