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Edith Kermit Roosevelt

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About the Author

Lewis L. Gould's other books include The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt; Four Hats in the Ring: The 1912 Election and the Birth of Modern American Politics; Helen Taft: Our Musical First Lady; and The Modern American Presidency.


"Edith Roosevelt always makes the short list of 'best' first ladies, and in this insightful, lively biography Gould explains why. Although she is sometimes touted as a woman who 'never made a mistake, ' this thoughtful examination of her record shows she made quite a few. Using newly discovered sources, Gould portrays a woman whose views on race will surprise some readers. Even those who thought they knew Edith Roosevelt well will find here a far more interesting and complex woman than they ever imagined."--Betty Boyd Caroli, author of The Roosevelt Women

"Edith Roosevelt tried hard to conceal the large and often decisive part she played in the life and career of her husband, Theodore Roosevelt. Lewis Gould has succeeded in overcoming that obstacle and has written an incisive, compelling biography of this first truly modern first lady. He shows that behind the public image of a madcap rollicksome tribe of young children in the White House led by an ebullient, doting father lay an often grimmer reality of emotional strain and paternal self-absorption mitigated and managed by this strong, shrewd woman. Likewise, she quietly delved into his public career, usually with good effect but also with some sad results, as in the case of racial views. In all, this is a splendid contribution to understanding the lives of these fascinating, significant people and their times."--John Milton Cooper, author of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography

"Lewis Gould has drawn on his wide knowledge of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency as well as on hitherto unappreciated archival material to create a rounded portrait of the complex woman who was the wife of one of our most intriguing presidents."--Kristie Miller, author of Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson's First Ladies

"Gould provides a balanced and nuanced view of Edith Roosevelt."--Presidential Studies Quarterly

"Gould's slim biography of Edith Kermit Roosevelt sheds new light on this often overlooked and misrepresented First Lady. ... By examining the good alongside the bad, he provides a robust portrait of a complex private individual thrust into a very public role."--Booklist

"But Lewis L. Gould's account of her life and influence is as insightful as it is compact, combining distinguished scholarship with engaging storytelling."--Weekly Standard

"Draws on newly discovered sources in a biography of the first lady; documents her bigotry toward African-Americans and considers how it may have affected her husband's policies."--The Chronicle of Higher Education

"While many consider Edith Roosevelt to have been a worthy compliment to her husband (as both person and president), a capable mother, skilled organizer, and patron of the arts (especially classical music), Gould shows that the truth was much more complicated. Edith harbored deep-seated racist views--which Gould argues impacted her husband's policies regarding race--and she actively expressed her distaste for certain individuals, including her successor, Helen Taft. Any hope of continued hagiography is laid to rest here, but Gould's goal isn't simply to bring the saint back down to earth. He acknowledges Edith's admirable qualities as well, and credits her for her pivotal role in the institutionalization of First Lady duties."--Publishers Weekly

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