This is not a book that reads quickly. It is comprehensive and careful, and is meant to be savored as a work of history. I'm looking forward to reading the second volume of this.
In each First Lady installment, the author's massive (and occasionally frustrating) tendency is to weave, albeit expertly, in and out of character, like one making a tapestry, ending ultimately where he started; naturally, that is scant consolation for the researcher with little or no time to waste. Said another way, whereas the the stated focus (if we go by chapter index) is a particular First Lady, the pattern is to be discursive within that chapter by taking divers detours into the lives of prior or subsequent First Ladies. For instance, what does a lengthy paragraph on the youthful Rosalyn Carter have to do with a chapter supposedly on Bess the Boss (Truman)? Why does Anthony ramble on about deployment of the Atomic Bomb if the topic was Edith Wilson's admiration of Bess's ladylike restraint?Read more ›