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.
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