Book Review: First Mothers the Women Who Shaped the Presidents

This title was chosen ahead of time for me, by me, on my annual reading list.  I deemed it appropriate for May, because of Mother's Day.  What better inspiration for a mother than to read about other mother's whose sons reached the highest office in our country?

First Mothers was written by Bonnie Angelo, a reporter with Time, who had covered stories at the White House through eight administrations.  She uses this knowledge as well as interviews with past presidents and their families to write this impressive biography.

Mothers

First Mothers is a wonderful biography full of wisdom, quotes and history made by the work of these mothers.  This book sheds new light on the line: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."  The chapters are dedicated to the mothers of Presidents: FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. 

What I found fascinating is that not one of the eleven mothers sought to have her son become president; many had no political aspirations for their family.
The common thread of each mother whether born wealthy or dirt poor, was that her son be a good man- strong in character and to be able to do what needs to be done. 
It was interesting that each son that would become president, held a special place in his mothers heart, not quite a favorite, but for lack o f a better word, a favorite none the less. Each mother would champion her son; always believing the best in him and encouraging him to do his best. The binding tie was that each mother who would have a president son, had an especially close relationship with her father.  She would hold him in high esteem and find her strength in this relationship that would then influence her and her sons futures. 

First Mothers is a book that sheds new light on powerful men who changed and made history.  A book that will charm and inspire you.

Summer at Tiffany

Summer is drawing to a close.  But if you have time to fit in one more book of summer time reading, this is a great pick!

Do you remember the best summer of your life?

Grab this book & get ready for a great poolside read!

The setting is New York City, 1945.  A time of Gershwin, Glenn Miller, WWII, and white glove glamor all around. 

Marjorie and her best friend Marty are wholesome gals from Iowa, on a summer trip to the Big Apple.
They search for employment in all the big name department stores with no luck. The girls don't give up and they become pages at Tiffany & Co., the first women ever on the sales floor!

However the girls didn't travel all that way for just work!  There were plenty of fun adventures as they take in all that NYC has to offer.  Including nights primping with Kreml, Jergens and Max Factor before going out on the town with midshipmen.

Sip from a tall glass of lemonade, just like Marjorie and Marty did in chapter 7. 🙂

This charming story will have you creating Big Band playlists as you travel back in time to 1945.

Favorite Quotes from the book:

~ "Isn't it amazing, no matter how tired you are- music always gives you a lift."

~ "Money may not buy happiness, but it sure takes you shopping."

Civil War Wives

This title is from my Annual Book List.
I had heard so much about the men of the Civil War but knew next to nothing of the women and their experiences. This book helped rectify that.

Sitting down with a glass of iced tea to sip, I expected a historical tome, but was pleasantly surprised with its easy reading style & I felt pulled into each woman’s life and experiences.

Civil War Wives tells about the lives and times of Angelina Grimke Weld,  Varina Howell Davis & Julia Dent Grant.

Book&minticedtea

For Civil War buffs, two of those names are ringing bells already.  V. Davis was the President of the Confederacy’s wife and J. Grant is none other than General and future President Grant’s wife.
These were the two stories that captured me the most.

Both fascinating women with night and day personalities and upbringings. But both would go on to be wife to powerful, influential men at an impactful time in history.
My favorite part & one that I had never heard of in AP History class, is that they met later in life on several occasions after the war had ended.

The book narrates their lives with historical context, snippets of their own words, but reads easily like a memoir.

I plan to read other titles by Carol Berkin in the future.

 

 

Here is a quote I copied from the portion on Varina Howell Davis–

“Oh, how I would like to be free from care for a few days if only to know how it would feel, if I should not have to lose the objects of those cares.  Cares do wear out one’s youth.”

This book is excellent when read while sipping Iced Tea with sprigs of mint. 🙂