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The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders Paperback – Bargain Price, January 3, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Perhaps because our presidents fill the roles of both chief executive and ceremonial head of state, we have long demonstrated a strong, sometimes obsessive, interest in their family lives and histories. Wead is a former special assistant to President Bush Sr., a friend of the current president, and the author of 26 books. Assuming that we can gain greater understanding of presidential attitudes and actions by examining the lives of their parents, Wead peruses the lives of an interesting variety of presidential parents. Some, such as Lincoln's father, were, according to Wead, illiterate brutes; others, including Jimmy Carter's mother, Lillian, were people of great grit and character. This isn't a work of serious scholarship; ead tends to engage in unwarranted speculation, and there is the inevitable use of psychobabble. till, this is a fun book with plenty of surprising, sometimes juicy tidbits about parents and sons. t is a breezy, enjoyable work aimed at the general reader. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Epic! A remarkable perspective....One sees the American presidents through a more intimate lens."

-- Peter Schweizer, coauthor of The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty

"Superb.... A long-awaited study of a difficult subject often hidden by presidents and their families. It is a piece of American history that solves many mysteries."

-- Steven Lee Carson, chairman, White House Conference on Presidential Children

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Atria (January 3, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0743497279
  • ASIN: B001O9CG44
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,186,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 is great material, well reasearched and very interesting.
Thomas Pierre
Mr. Wead has written another captivating history book, and this book deserves to be read by everyone.
F. Cimino
Given Mr. Wead's demonstrated lack of ethics in writing and promoting the book, I am not surprised.
R. Riley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dianna on February 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading All The President's Children. I'm not much of a history buff, but my husband brought it to me while I was in the hospital after giving birth to our third child. I found it thrilling, so I was eager to read Mr. Wead's new book. He masterfully shows a side of the Presidents that is rarely seen. As a teacher I feel that his insights into history are worthy of great praise. As a parent I feel there are many lessons to learn from these powerful families. This may be the finest book ever written about Presidential parents. THIS WAS WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on March 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sub-Title: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders

We've had lots of presidents, and with the exception of the related ones there's been little about their origins. It seems that the history books mostly assume that the presidents have burst forth as adults ready to assume the mangle of leadership.

As I read about the various presidents I was struck by the differences in the families. Three like Clinton had fathers who died before they were born. Some (Kennedy/Bush) had very successful fathers (at least in terms of money). Some (Nixon/Lincoln) were quite poor. Some (Kennedy again) would push their children very hard. Some (Bush) merely strived to set the best possible examples for their children.

Out of all of these backgrounds came basically honorable men who had the drive and ambition to lead the country.

With the release of the private tapes made by the author of conversations with George W. Bush, it is unfortunately likely that the message of the book will become confused with the incident. This is a good book presenting an aspect of the presidency that breaks new ground.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Little, LMHC on February 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I never bought this book from Amazon. To be honest Doug Wead sent me a copy. But I didn't read it. I had already read several chapters prior to its publication. As a college professor and the director of a family therapy program, Doug felt that I was enough of an "expert" to advise him. He would send me chapters and ask my opinion. I sent him information from psychology books and from research and from my own experience. I offered him a couple of interesting quotes I read. He used one or two in the book. I rarely needed to say a word because he already had some ideas that were right on target. I think I once asked him where he got his psych degree. We spent hours on the phone talking about these wonderful first families. Never have I been so honored and had so much fun for doing so little.

I think "The Raising of a President" is a great book. I do not know of any historian who knows the first families as does Doug. He asks and answers the questions that I would want to know. He has researched them. He has read about them. He has spoken to them (Doug spoke to every living Presidential child for his last book) and he even taped one of them. He knows his stuff and no one puts it down on paper like him.

Having looked at many of these pages prior to publication I can say that I feel them to be an accurate portrayal of the First Families. I would have actually bought a copy if Doug didn't send me one!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By G. William Barnett II on March 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Doug Wead gives us the reader a rare look into the childhood of the members of a very elite fraternity, The American Presidents. What is it about the upbringing of a child that develops in him the leadership and confidence to one day become the leader of the free world? As with almost all successful people our President's, current and past, have had difficulties that would make broken men of most of us. How did their backgrounds provide them with the strength to rise above those situations...well for that you'll have to read the book. Treat yourself to wonderful read chocked full of history.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dave Donaldson on January 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The strength of this book is its new material on the Bushes and Kennedys. Apparently the author got up to the Kennedy Library and tapped into the deluge of newly released documents. This is the best complete update on the Kennedys around. And those pages sizzle. But the account of the Bushes is truly mesmerizing. They are not as boring as I thought. There is much here, written dispassionately. Truly fascinating. Six hundred pages went very quickly.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Marlene K. Syrie on January 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The thing I like about this book is that there is so much to offer for parenting. I love the analogy of the child in the shadows -- it seems to be remarkably true in many, many families -- not just presidential. George Washington became president, not Lawrence. Jack Kennedy became president, not Joe, Jr. -- George W. Bush, not Jeb, (the one the family expected to become a national political figure). It's all very interesting.
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Pamela C. Shepherd on January 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The stories of these presidents totally changes when you put yourself in their parents shoes. It is just a remarkable perspective. What is especially poignant is that almost all of the parents die in ignorance of the greatness in their own home. They never know who they were raising and what they would end up doing. That is a bit bittersweet. I like the take on Sara Roosevelt. I have read things that make her look like a witch and the author does indeed have all the warts, including some I was not aware of, like not letting Franklin have a bath without her til he was nine years old. Ugh. But he showed her greatness too, in a way that I never understood before. I agree that Lincoln is just haunting and the account of the Bushes is probably the most insightful to date. A bit daring.
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