From Publishers Weekly
Miller (Isabella Greenway: An Enterprising Woman) explores how Woodrow Wilson's two wives influenced his time in office, drawing a close connection between personal struggle and political action. Dying of kidney failure just 18 months after Wilson's first inauguration, his wife Ellen Axson had been "quiet, intellectual, dutiful, and frugal." An artist of modest talent who sought success by dedicating herself to her husband's promising career rather than her own, Ellen broadened Wilson's appreciation of art and literature, made translations and digests for his early writing, suggested revisions for books and speeches, and helped him select advisers. An intensely loving partner who struggled with depression, Ellen tolerated and even abetted Wilson's intense, possibly sexual, relationship with another woman. She was also the first presidential wife to lobby for her favorite cause: urban renewal. Fifteen months after Ellen's death, Wilson married a "flamboyant, confident, and fashionable" widow, Edith Bolling Galt, who would become infamous for usurping executive power after Wilson was debilitated by a stroke during his second term, though Miller maintains a scholarly detachment in recounting these possibly world-changing events. This latest installment in the University Press of Kansas's Modern First Ladies series may alter some readers' opinions of our nation's 28th president. 22 photos.
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From the Back Cover
"In this compelling book Miller has given us a rich portrait of Woodrow Wilson's two wives, telling family stories that became deeply significant to the course of the twentieth century."--John Milton Cooper, author of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
"In felicitous prose, Miller brings to life two remarkable and very different first ladies. Readers will never view Wilson or his presidency the same way again."--Stacy A. Cordery, author of Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker
"A fascinating, original contrast of two first ladies and with it a fresh view of their complex husband. An authoritative dual biography."--Michael McGerr, author of A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920
"Woodrow Wilson desperately needed adoring women to warm up his austere personality and to advise him. One of America's most important presidents and the historic defender of internationalism and the right of self-determination, Wilson could not be a great man without feminine support. . . . Deeply researched and graced with balanced judgment, this is a book you must read to understand Wilson and the twentieth century."--Kathleen M. Dalton, author of Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life