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October 9, 2016

MADAM PRESIDENT - William Hazelgrove

October 17, 2016

The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson
William Hazelgrove

Madam President Coming 2016
(from Book Jacket)
After President Woodrow Wilson suffered a paralyzing stoke in the fall of 1919, his wife,First Lady Edith Wilson, began to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the Executive Office.
In the tenuous peace following the end of WWI, a woman with little formal education and a marriage of only four years to Woodrow WIlson dedicated herself to managing the presidency, including reading all correspondence intended for her bedridden husband.
Though her Oval Office authority was tacitly acknowledged in Washington, D.D., circles that the time--one senator called her "the Presidentress who had fulfilled the dream of suffragettes by changing her title from First Lady to Acting First Man" --her legacy as "First Woman President" is now largely forgotten.
William Hazelgrove's  MADAM PRESIDENT is a vivid, engaging portrait of the woman who became the acting president of the United States in 1919, months before women officially won the right to vote.

"Nothing would go to the President that did not pass through her (Edith) first. This  applied to people as well. For months, people didn't see President Woodrow Wilson;  they saw the new regent of power, Edith Wilson."

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery History (October 17, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162157475X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621574750

She was from the South and had two years of formal schooling and wrote like a child. She married a quiet man from Washington and her baby died after three months. Her husband then died and left her with a failing jewelry company that was severely in debt. She turned the company around while taking almost no salary. She bought an electric car and was issued the first driver’s license given to a woman in the District of Columbia. She married a President who had been recently widowed. In four years, the President would have a severe stroke, and leave her to run the Unites States Government and negotiate the end of World War I.
She was our First Woman President.


William Hazelgrove is the National Bestselling author of ten novels and three nonfiction titles. Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways Rocket Man, The Pitcher, Real Santa, Jackpine, The Pitcher2, and the forthcoming Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson, The Last Cowboy, and Gangsters and Nymphs Al Capone and the Worlds Fair of 1933. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly Kirkus,and Booklist, Book of the Month Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards Junior Library Guild Selections and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications and has been featured on NPR All Things Considered. The New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today have all covered his books with features. He runs a cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson will be out fall 2016. He lives in Chicago.
AUTHOR'S WEB SITE  (Read the first chapter here)

How did the country function without a Commander in Chief?   President Wilson was left paralyzed , October 2nd, 1919 from a stroke.   In those days the only thing doctors knew to do was have the patient in total seclusion, total bed rest.   His wife, First Lady Edith Wilson took on the job of practically running the country.    She had a team from the different Department that she consulted with and the President was never bothered with any of the problems and solutions.  She did it all, she kept her husband secluded by Dr.'s orders, with very few seeing him.  She ran the White House as a president would.   Signed documents, composed State of Union addresses, went over every problem and decided what she would run by her husband.   No one knew that the country was being run by Edith instead of Woodrow. Vice President Marshall didn't even see the president and Edith did this to keep the power of the Presidency being transferred to Marshall.    She kept her husband from from others with one main goal. Keep him alive!
Even before his stroke, Edith was part of everything that took place.  This may have been a blessing in disguise, preparing her for the day that came when he couldn't be the President in person, only in name.  Edith was a woman in power. She was making decisions, policies, cover ups and was crafting it as she went.   Her husband at times was 'out of it' but she was trying hard to keep that hidden. Edith was hands on, she didn't sit back and say, "woe is me",  she dug her heels in and took hold. Edith was very well prepared even before her husband had his stroke.   President Wilson was absent from the public for 5 months.   Edith threw important letters on a pile.  She just had too much to do and look over.  Some of these letters were, indeed, important but never  opened.  There are many ideas if Edith did indeed act as President or was Woodrow actually making the decisions, just not being available to the public?   If we give cadence to Edith actually being the President, then Woodrow Wilson just held the title and made no important decisions for our country.  Was Edith the First Woman President?  I feel she was but in actions only, not in name.  I don't think a woman would have ever held the most important office,  Commander in Chief, not at that time in history.  You can say she did this for the power that a woman wasn't supposed to have.  You can say, she did this out of love for her dear husband.
The author takes the reader on a history ride that you won't  want to get off.  Imagine, a bride of only four years, only 2 years of formal education and she boldly and bravely took on the most important office that was held by her husband.The author gives us a history book.  We get a love story, a story of love for the people of the United States and a love for her husband.  We get a story of how a woman can make important decisions, stand fast and get the job done, when a woman hadn't evolved into those kind of roles.  We, as readers, can look back from today and see how far women have come.  From the year 1919, a woman acting in the capacity of Commander in Chief, under her husband, who is actually Commander in Chief,and we arrive at 2016 when a woman is openly running for the President of the United States.    The author actually has you wanting Edith to really be recognized for the role she had, under the cover of her husband, undertaken so courageously. She not only was First Lady but she also took on the role of First Woman President.  Make up your own mind.  Was she truly the First Woman President? 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, William Hazelgrove, in exchange for my personal review.

I would give this book 5 STARS.


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