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Presidential Wives: An Anecdotal History Paperback – April 20, 1989

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Completing a trilogy that includes Presidential Anecdotes and Presidential Campaigns, Boller "looks to the ladies" in entertaining stories and vignettes of presidents' wives from Martha Washington to Nancy Reagan. Each First Lady is accorded a thoughtful essay that fixes the historical moment of her residency in the White House; the accompanying anecdotes illuminate her special relationship to the country as well as her husband. We hear of Jefferson's profound grief on Martha's death, which put him "in a stupor of mind"; of Dolley Madison's unfortunate propensity to snuff-taking; of Teddy Roosevelt's wife, who thought he was "just the biggest of her children." Tales about presidential wives prior to the 20th century are not abundant because, as Boller points out, many were practically "invisible women," exerting their influence in the recesses of the White House by coping with husband and children. For the more public First Ladies of recent times, the author provides some fresh, even amusing, anecdotes in this lively popular history. 30,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"For anyone interested in a snapshot view of the presidency, this anecdotal history of American presidential important to read--and certainly fun....Boller's anecdotes are fascinating and amusing."--Letitia Baldrige, The Washington Post Book World

"Boller excels at illuminating the pathos and tragedy that suffused the lives of other presidential wives."--The Chicago Tribune

"Boller's deep insight into [these women's] lives and personalities...[adds] new historical detail to White House folklore."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Boller has splendidly fulfilled his purpose of producing a fascinating...account of what it has meant for a woman to be the wife of a president....This collective history of presidential wives calls attention to their significance in the nation's history."--Journal of American History


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Rep edition (April 20, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019505976X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195059762
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,734,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Karen on July 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was a pleasure to read. It is a great way to get some basic insights into the wives of our President's, while creating the desire to learn more about these amazing women.
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Format: Hardcover
Some First Ladies, like Mary Todd Lincoln, Jacqueline Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt or Hilary Rodham Clinton, have become as famous as their husbands and are the subjects of numerous biographies. Others, such as Rachel Jackson, Martha Jefferson, or Jane Pierce, exist only in the framework of their husbands' lives. The happy medium is to find a book that treats the lives of all of these women in a handy reference. There are many books that run down the lives of the First Ladies in cursory detail, but Paul Boller manages to say a lot about each woman in a few short pages of space.

Presidential Wives is a handy reference, even if it doesn't go beyond Hilary Clinton and leaves out Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. Whether you're just curious about a particular First Lady but don't want to read a full biography, or you're a teacher, blogger or someone else who needs a handy desk reference, this book fits the bill. Even if you can only get a used paperback, it's worth it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having the earlier book of Presidential Anecdotes for over thirty years, I was glad to find this one; the stories of the ladies behind the poor saps that took the Oath due to election, succession, or in Mr. Ford's case, succession via appointment. It really does take a strong woman for that spot. Makes me almost pity Mr. Pierce; he didn't have that in his wife. At least Mr. Buchanan had his niece. Well written, and some stories were already known from their husband's stories. A good read.
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