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FREE BOOK ð Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era ã 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gambled without regard to societal judgment, and she freely broke racial and class boundariesDrawing from previously unpublished diaries, a lifetime of love letters between Will and Nellie, and detailed family correspondence and recollections, critically acclaimed presidential family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 This is one of the few non fiction books that I read this year At just over 400 pages, it was a lengthy read for me, packed with information However, I believe that the author did an excellent job of arranging the narrative of this book, and so, even though it was full of information, the book also had a sense of drama that compelled one s interest Ever since I was a little girl, I have been interested in Presidential figures, and keenly remember reading about them, with some mentions of thei This is one of the few non fiction books that I read this year At just over 400 pages, it was a lengthy read for me, packed with information However, I believe that the author did an excellent job of arranging the narrative of this book, and so, even though it was full of information, the book also had a sense of drama that compelled one s interest Ever since I was a little girl, I have been interested in Presidential figures, and keenly remember reading about them, with some mentions of their First Ladies Idle gleanings of Wiki articles filled in the information gap a little , but after reading this book, I can truly say that I ve gone from knowing next to nothing about Mrs Taft to now knowing muchabout her than any other First Lady Coming into the book, my expectations were speculative as to how much I would enjoy learning about this person I found her spunky and though she seemed to have been a sensitive person who did not easily forget being slighted by others, as well as exhibiting classist behavior from time to time, her immense love for music, unflagging endurance, and striving ambition demanded my respect All in all, I very much enjoyed reading this book A large portion of it also details her close relationship with President Taft, and gives a further degree of familiarity with his personality during various stages of their lives Thoughts soon. I guess by now it is well known that Doris Kerns Goodwin has a new book coming out November 5, 2013 about Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft called THE BULLY PULPIT I have it on order and expect like all of Kern s books it will be excellent In anticipation I remembered that I had in my library a copy of Carl Anthony s biography of Taft s wife, Nellie Taft I had bought it some time ago because I had really enjoyed Anthony s book FLORENCE HARDING, THE FIRST LADY, THE JAZZ AGE, AND THE D I guess by now it is well known that Doris Kerns Goodwin has a new book coming out November 5, 2013 about Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft called THE BULLY PULPIT I have it on order and expect like all of Kern s books it will be excellent In anticipation I remembered that I had in my library a copy of Carl Anthony s biography of Taft s wife, Nellie Taft I had bought it some time ago because I had really enjoyed Anthony s book FLORENCE HARDING, THE FIRST LADY, THE JAZZ AGE, AND THE DEAL OF AMERICA S MOST SCANDALOUS PRESIDENT 5 stars If you have not read this prior book you will find it a most entertaining and interesting book I highly recommend it to you see my review on.com I also enjoyed the Nellie Taft book It is well written, organized and covers a history that is for most American s a black hole of ignorance Taft is remembered as being a failed President who weighedthan any other in history and maybe some might recall he also became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court And although Anthony gives lots of information about President Taft and his fall out from Theodore Roosevelt the book quite rightly focuses on his strong willed wife who pushed him against his better judgment into running for President he apparently hated the job As such Nellie Taft was indeed the power behind the thrown and most unique she smoked and drank even during proabition supported minority rights helping Taft to govern the Philippines She is also responsible for the cherry trees that make Washington DC so special in spring Unfortunately she had two strokes shortly after becoming first lady and did not fully recover until after her husband lost re election A loss neither she nor her husband, the President mourned mainly because they feared a Theodore Roosevelt third term Nellie had a special dislike of Theodore Roosevelt and especially Roosevelt s wife This rivalry between friends consumed her Nellie Taft is the story of a self confident, progressive liberal , world traveling modern woman in an age where such behavior was muchgroundbreaking than say Eleanor Roosevelt who Nellie liked or today s Hillary Clinton In fact in a different age and time it is not hard to speculate that Nellie Taft might held office in her own right Her Son Bob Taft became the right wing isolationist senator who in 1940 first tried to run for President Nellie supported him but not his views He found she was very much her own woman I found it especially interesting that after her husband died Nellie began to travel alone all around the world on long extended trips She loved the theater and music attending all the productions she could She never slowed down and rather be alone traveling that visiting family even at Christmas She died in her mid 80s during the middle of World War II from lung disease most likely due to her smoking habit To the end she loved a good cocktail I think knowing her would have been quite a kick Helen Herron Nellie Taft was considered unconventional She drank alcohol, smoked cigarette and gambled and insisted on participating in her husband s political affairs She was the first of the First Ladies to drive an automobile while first lady The car was a Pierce Arrow.According to Anthony, Nellie Taft was the one that wanted to be in public office, as women could not vote or hold office she pushed her husband into politics He was only interested in the law and his goal was to be the Ch Helen Herron Nellie Taft was considered unconventional She drank alcohol, smoked cigarette and gambled and insisted on participating in her husband s political affairs She was the first of the First Ladies to drive an automobile while first lady The car was a Pierce Arrow.According to Anthony, Nellie Taft was the one that wanted to be in public office, as women could not vote or hold office she pushed her husband into politics He was only interested in the law and his goal was to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court The author discusses in detail the time Taft was the Governor General of the Philippines Anthony also presents Nellie s side in the 1912 feud between Taft and Roosevelt, providing another perspective to the often told story.Taft was a middling president and big business called him the sugarplum president The book provides a fascinating look into the complex personalities and the role of women in the early twentieth century.Nellie trained to be a teacher and was a French teacher Nellie spoke German, Spanish and French as well as Latin and Greek While in the Philippines she learned some Tagalog She had a great interest in music and studying music in school She helped found the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Nellie drew on her broad knowledge of music to recruit a series of famous and soon to be famous professional musicians to perform for gatherings of a few hundred guests in the White House.The author states that the Tafts were the first presidential couple to attend a Seder while in office Anthony provides a vivid portrait of Nellie Taft and the society she lived in I read this on my Kindle app for my iPad