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On the morning of William Howard Taft’s inauguration, Nellie Taft publicly expressed that theirs would be a joint presidency by shattering precedent and demanding that she ride alongside her husband down Pennsylvania Avenue, a tradition previously held for the outgoing president. In an era before Eleanor Roosevelt, this progressive First Lady was an advocate for higher education and partial suffrage for women, and initiated legislation to improve working conditions for federal employees. She smoked, drank, and gambled without regard to societal judgment, and she freely broke racial and class boundaries.
Drawing from previously unpublished diaries, a lifetime of love letters between Will and Nellie, and detailed family correspondence and recollections, critically acclaimed presidential family historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony develops a riveting portrait of Nellie Taft as one of the strongest links in the series of women — from Abigail Adams to Hillary Rodham Clinton — often critically declared “copresidents.”
“Biographer gives credit to lesser-known first lady, Nellie Taft.” “A pleasing biography. . . . Anthony paints a vivid portrait.” “Nellie Taft cut a bold swath through the remnants of Victorian sensibility.” “[A] riveting, novelistic bio.” “A titillating—and unquestioningly entertaining—look at an early 20th century political marriage devoid of a mundane moment.” “Staggeringly well researched, richly sympathetic, and teeming with human interest.” “A much needed examination of the ways presidential wives influenced husbands, domestic politics, and foreign policy.” “Florence Harding’s story is absorbing, poignant and dramatic.”
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