Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: Madam President by William Hazelgrove

Long before there was 24 hours news and calls for transparency, a president's wife and his personal physician were able to cover up the fact that he was gravely ill and she had stepped in to run the country.

In Madam President: The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson, best-selling author William Hazelgrove creates an engaging account of a strong, independent-minded woman whose devotion to her husband ran so deep she would deceive an entire nation.

During Woodrow Wilson's second term in office, physical strain and ill health led to him suffering a devastating stroke that left him confined to bed for weeks and sequestered from everyone except his second wife, Edith, and his personal physician, Dr. Grayson. Knowing the importance of reducing her husband's stress, Edith--who had always been kept abreast of current affairs--began selecting what matters she would share with the president and delegated others to cabinet members. Hazelgrove's account sheds significant light on this period of time that Edith was secretly running the county. Though she had limited schooling, her close relationship with her husband and his acceptance of women playing a greater role than society found acceptable paved the way for her to step into his shoes.

Hazelgrove doesn't sugarcoat things, though. Edith had a darker side. She disliked certain people with as much passion as she loved her husband. She could hold grudges for a long time. Her contempt for  Wilson's vice-president, Thomas Marshall, was part of the reason she embarked upon what she called as her "stewardship" during her husband's illness. She also sought to replace people she felt were disloyal to him.

Madam President shares a great deal of personal and historical information, making this a love story that unfolds during one of the most tumultuous times in American history. Though I was fully aware of the history and of Wilson's incapacitation, I honestly didn't know much about Edith Wilson. She truly was a woman before her time. Madam President is a fascinating account of this complex, staunchly loyal woman.

File Size: 1459 KB
Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Regnery History (October 18, 2016)
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensate for in any way.

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