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The First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower, An Intimate Portrait of the Women Who Shaped America Paperback – February 1, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A delightful, valuable book, which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good read and wishes to learn about important relatively neglected contributors to American history." - Midwest Book Review

"The First Ladies" is the kind of book that will satisfy historians, women's history scholars and trivia buffs alike. If that's you, then see that you get this book." - Bookworm Sez

"An independent presidential historian presents profiles of the 26 First Ladies who occupied the US White House from 1789-1961, from Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower. The book features cameo photos, and comments about their legacies for more recent First Ladies. Lesser-known ones are given credit for their contributions; e.g., Julia Tyler is compared to Jackie Kennedy as a style-setter." - Book News

"By highlighting personality traits and the activities of these women leading up to, during, and post their White House days, Foster gives a perspective of the first ladies not often seen in the press or history books. Her audiences like her because she has a light style of writing that is full of information and you learn what the First Ladies are like as people and not just a series of facts." - Charlotte Area News Stories

" An Intimate Portrait of the Women Who Shaped America has written a delightful, valuable book, which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good read and wishes to learn about important relatively neglected contributors to American history." - Midwest Book Review

"Feather Schwartz Foster's guide to the Founding Mothers isn't just a list of people and their details, but a chance to delve into the little-known lives of the presidents' wives: their personalities, their passions, their accomplishments, and their legacies...Recommended for everyone who wants a peak into the lives of the White House's first wives. " - The Paperback Pursuer

About the Author

Researching the subject for more than 40 years, Feather Schwartz Foster has given more than 200 lectures about the women whose marriages are included in the book, including the Christopher Wren Society in Williamsburg, Virginia. She also is a "Resident Guest" at the President's Park in Williamsburg.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Cumberland House; 1 edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402242727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402242724
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,332,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Most of us know our Founding Fathers but what about our Founding Mothers? Long before Hillary and Michelle, there were Abigail and Martha, the women behind THEIR men.

The First Ladies is a fascinating look into the women who helped mold America. The Old Gals, as the author calls them, were plucked out of everyday life to become our First Ladies and each of them...from Martha to Bess...had a tale to tell. Some were beautiful. Rich. Educated, Ambitious. Others frail. Needy, Uncultured. Begrudging. Find out who belonged to whom and how it affected the Presidency.

This book is more than a worthy read. It is beautifully written, well researched, and a piece of American history that illuminates this country's journey to the White House. If you love history...or just want to dish the dirt with some of the old gals...here's your chance.
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Format: Paperback
The First Ladies by Feather Foster Schwartz offers a brief view of the First Ladies of the Presidency of the United States from Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower, the last of the First Ladies born in the nineteenth century.

The First Ladies take a brief, but fascinating look into the disposition, life and a contribution each First Lady brought to her husband's presidency. It looks at which First Ladies eagerly took up the office as well as those who were reluctant or who refused to take it up. It looks very briefly at the relationship the President had with his wife - was she a confidant, a helper or simply a good example of the average woman of her time. What did she bring to the proverbial table at the time her husband took up the office of President of the United States?

I greatly enjoyed The First Ladies. It wasn't a book of dry historical facts but rather a glimpse into the life and personality of each woman. I found it fascinating. It was as if I stepped briefly into each woman's life and understood, to a very small degree not only what she brought to the Presidency, but also what the Presidency brought to her. Was it a joy, a challenge to rise to, or an unwanted and unwelcomed burden? The First Ladies examines women who looked at the job of wife of a President in all these ways and it makes them more accessible and understandable. I think it is a wonderful example of scholarship, without being dry or boring and would make an excellent addition to any home or library.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"The First Ladies: An Intimate Portrait of the Women Who Shaped America"

Reviewed by Diane Evans

"The First Ladies: An Intimate Portrait of the Women Who Shaped America"
Reviewed by Diane Evans

It is impossible to write a performance review covering the careers of the First Ladies from Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower over the first 172 years of United States history because no job description for the position existed. Some women rose to the challenge, creating their own unique positions in the spotlight; others were dragged into that light kicking, screaming and looking for escape routes into obscurity. And the spotlight of public scrutiny was bright, all-seeing, cruel and relentless, especially upon women who truly had no idea what the role of First Lady might encompass. But they played the cards they were dealt and most played them well. With backgrounds ranging from society women of fine breeding and education, to commoners, and even a frontier wife from Tennessee, they grew into their roles, defining the qualities of the evolving First Lady's position.
As school children we learned very little about these women. We knew they made contributions based on various levels of intellect, education, style, grace and elegance, but they had the character of paper doll cut-outs until Feather Schwartz Foster's book "The First Ladies" delivered a sampling of these personalities revealing both their high and low points. With a delightful sense of humor, she reminds us that they were, indeed, human. They come to life as they dance and frolic across the page or grump in a corner somewhere. Whatever the case, they entice us to look further into their lives with a deeper understanding of their trials and tribulations which grew out of their experiences and historical roots.
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Format: Paperback
Thank you, Feather, for your very readable book about the First Ladies. I picked it up during our visit to Andrew Jackson's presidential mansion a few weeks ago. I am a busy mom of 3 who homeschools. The book was perfect for me. I so enjoyed reading it, I plowed right through it. I am now reading a book about the Presidents. Yes, you accomplished the goals you stated at the end of your book - I've got the bug and now want to read more! If you are ever speaking in Ohio, please let me know. I know a bunch of homeschooler who would love to hear you talk!
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Format: Paperback
Feather Foster has produced an entertaining and informative compendium about the first two dozen first ladies of the United States. Spanning the days of Martha Washington to Mamie Eisenhower, she tells us who was a good organizer, who was ambitious, who was well read, and who was a great hostess. Ms. Foster's treads lightly, but she's clear about her opinion of each lady's legacy. The book is useful as a basic reference, and is entertaining for the brief stories and postscripts that encapsulate each of its main characters.
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