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First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents

Angelo, Bonnie

521 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0688156312 / ISBN 13: 9780688156312
Published by William Morrow & Company, New York, 2000
Condition: very good, very good
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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451, illus., selected readings, index, bookplate inside front flyleaf, slight soiling to DJ. Bookseller Inventory # 48099

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Bibliographic Details

Title: First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the ...

Publisher: William Morrow & Company, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Book Condition: very good, very good

Edition: First Edition. Sixth Printing.

About this title


An examination of the mothers of U.S. presidents describes how these remarkable women inspired and molded their sons to become world leaders, drawing from interviews with living relatives.


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

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