Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book.
Leah Hadder is a student recruitment specialist at ASU-Beebe.
While looking for the “next great read,” I came across First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower. It is a fascinating book due to the detailed descriptions of the lives of some remarkable women, among those included are: Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Patricia Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.
The president’s wife can be considered a true American icon. There are numerous opinions of how first ladies must be well-educated or must fit a particular stereotype. A first lady’s behavior must exhibit that of a strong leader, while her community platforms and service work are closely analyzed as a reflection of her character. It is interesting to read the multitudes of first lady roles displayed throughout past decades.
Mrs. Brower shares insights and short stories of each of these first ladies during their time living in the White House. She wrote about everything from dinners each lady liked to eat, to describing various historical public appearances, to providing information about how each first lady had her own passion in serving the United States through personal platforms. Mrs. Brower even incorporates the dynamics of the interactions between the women, more specifically, friendly conversations and conflicting moments.
Readers are exposed to many chronicled facts that may not be commonly known. Mrs. Brower interviewed former White House staff members, read historical documents, discussed information with political advisors and intricately pieced together this book.
Her work has been widely appreciated, receiving national attention. She has been featured on popular news channels to discuss the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page. I was able to learn so much about each of these remarkable women who helped shape the political environment across multiple decades. Much about what I had been told about certain first ladies could not compare to what Mrs. Brower shares. Her book reminds us that though these ladies lived in the public eye, each still honored her primary roles as mother, friend, daughter, and wife.