First Ladies by Betty Boyd Caroli (1989)

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First Ladies
by Betty Boyd Caroli

Publisher:  Guild America Books / Doubleday Book & Music Clubs, Inc. 
Copyright:  1989

Book Club Edition

The role of First Lady has gradually developed over the years from a ceremonial backdrop to the President to a substantive world figure.  Now, in fascinating detail, here is a book that provides special profiles of all the women -- from Martha Washington to Barbara Bush -- who have held the prestigious title of America's First Lady.  Focusing on each woman's background, marriage and family, personality and interests, First Ladies gives us a candid picture of what their years in the White House were like, and what they accomplished (or failed to accomplish) there.

The First Ladies have been a remarkably diverse lot, including at times, daughters, daughters-in-law, and sisters of presidents, and have ranged in age from their early 20s to late 60s.  Some were remote and reclusive, like Eliza Johnson, who appeared at only two social occasions as First Lady, and Jane Pierce, who prayed that her husband would lose the election.  Others were courageous and adventuresome, like Elizabeth Monroe, who helped rescue Mme. Lafayette from the guillotine, and Lou Hoover, who bravely witnessed gun battles from the front of her house in China during the Boxer Rebellion.

A surprising number of the First Ladies were superior to their husbands socially and economically.  Some were superbly educated for their time; others, poorly schooled.  A few were emotionally unstable and not at all what one would expect of a presidential helpmate.

Including 42 classic portraits and charming photographs, First Ladies provides a most informative, engaging look at these special women -- their lives before and after they became First Lady, how they changed the position for their successors, and how in many cases they helped to change the image of women in America as well.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover is lightly discolored and shows shelf wear.  Pages are tanning from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.  Binding is badly split and coming apart between pages 206-207.  Binding beginning to split in other places, but pages are in tact.

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    • ISBN 0195037685
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