EDITH WILSON: The Woman Who Ran the United States by James Cross Giblin
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EDITH WILSON: The Woman Who Ran the United States

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In the ""Women of Our Time"" series, the first biography from an author noted for innovative looks at social history (Milk, 1986). After President Wilson's stroke during his unsuccessful effort to promote US membership in the League of Nations, his wife--at the behest of his doctors--acted for more than a year as his intermediary, deciding what he was told, summarizing documents for him, and conveying his decisions. Though she was attacked for her role (particularly by the White House staff and the Republican opposition), history credits her with doing a fine job of it; as Giblin concludes, ""she showed a remarkable devotion, courage, intelligence, and sense of what was important...essential qualities for anyone...who hopes to be an effective president."" Focusing on this crucial period, Giblin describes previous circumstances that were germane to it (Edith's caring for a disabled grandmother as a child; her successful management of a business after her first husband's death; Woodrow's habit of sharing issues and decisions with her, even before their marriage), skillfully enlivening his text with direct quotes from letters, diaries, etc. Scrupulously authentic and lucidly presented: a fascinating glimpse of the political scene, not so long ago. Illustrations not seen.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Viking