Succinct and highly readable, this group portrait of the 11 women who gave birth to America's 20th-century presidents might just put a more favorable spin on the phrase "mama's boy." From Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, all these chief executives were devoted to their mothers (relations with Dad were often more problematic), and that devotion had a direct effect on their presidencies--for the most part, a positive one. Sara Delano Roosevelt's adoration gave her son the self-confidence necessary to champion the New Deal's more unpopular measures. Martha Truman's personal experiences of the Civil War's bitter aftermath inspired Harry's determination to lend a hand to the vanquished as well as the victorious after World War II. Ida Eisenhower's pacifism didn't prevent her from supporting Dwight's decision to pursue a military career, but it shaped him into that welcome rarity, "a military leader who hated war." Lillian Carter's defiance of Southern mores to espouse civil rights and her precedent-shattering stint in the Peace Corps (at age 68) affected Jimmy's emphasis on human rights as well as his post-presidential commitment to serve the less fortunate. Virginia Kelley gets slapped for imparting to Bill Clinton the sense that "rules were for other people," but she's also credited with instilling his famous ability to feel other people's pain. In First Mothers, Bonnie Angelo, a longtime correspondent for Time magazine, delineates 11 different lives with a journalist's gift for cogency and an ability to see underlying similarities. Many of the facts here are familiar, but her interpretations are fresh. --Wendy Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Presidents are born, not made, right? On the contrary, claims Angelo, a veteran Time correspondent, who makes it clear that it's the cut of the apron and the strength of its strings that turn a son into a president. The 11 first mothers included in this illuminating and irresistibly readable bookAevery presidential mother from Sarah Delano Roosevelt onAall instilled in their sons supreme confidence and (with the exception of Sara Roosevelt) an awareness of social issues. Drawing on letters, interviews (including those with Presidents Ford, Carter and Bush) and historical evidence, Angelo paints vivid portraits of these "indomitable American women" whose gumption and drive to see their sons succeed were (with the exception of Virginia Clinton Kelley) very much steeped in what Tocqueville described as a 19th-century spirit of independence. In fact, while all these women were "highly individualistic," Angelo points out how much they had in common: all of them married late, and most of their marriages were marked by terrible trials and tragedies. Angelo explains that she started with the story of FDR's mother because his presidency marked "the beginning of contemporary America and the modern presidency, the prize that now can be won only by men of supreme self-assurance who are willing to withstand the grinding process and microscopic examination." While telling their individual histories, Angelo also draws fascinating parallels that indicate how the grounded philosophy and fighting spirit of the mother became that of the son (e.g., Lillian Gordy Carter learned from her father to treat blacks with careAan attitude that was decried by their neighbors but had an enormous impact on Jimmy Carter's presidential focus on equality). 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Lane Zachary. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It's one of my favorite books. I have bought several copies and have given them as gifts.Published 29 days ago by Laura A. Salas
Very interesting and informative about significant people in our history. I thought it was well based on research. Read morePublished 2 months ago by doneldaa
I was expecting stories about all of the mothers of all the presidents, not just a few recent ones.Published 3 months ago by Carolyn Gamble
Found out a number of things about our former presidents and their mothers. Got really irrited by some of those mothers, especially FDR since I lived through his presidency and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Joan Mueller
This book was very interesting. Sometimes it was difficult to keep some of the relatives straight. It could have been less confusing if a family tree had been providedPublished 8 months ago by NZ Travfeler