Monday, June 28, 2010

Remember The Ladies by Ann Covell

Remembering the Ladies

Remember the Ladies by Ann Covell
From Goodreads:

During the period of the 2008 American presidential election, when the whole world was held spellbound, I overheard a group of British college students discussing their latest study project. They were required to write an essay comparing any modern American First Lady with one who had served within the first century of the presidency. They quickly discovered that the early First Ladies lived in a complex world and that their role in that era was difficult. Pulling the overwhelming jigsaw of facts together from internet research was proving to be laborious and wearisome. The students would have preferred one compilation of First Ladies stories from the 19th century, which could be discussed with each other and /or their tutor at anytime, anywhere. Enthusiasm for the project was dampened by an apparent dearth of such volumes and by the lack of time available to study long individual biographies. The idea for this compendium was born!

In this 21st century, America's First Lady is as well known as her husband due to world-wide modern technology. In the 19th century, however, it was difficult for the public to even know who the president's wife was. Even today it is not easy to call to mind those pioneering First Ladies, many of whom were burdened with more than their fair share of misfortune and some almost forgotten
This book provides an insight into the lives of the 19th century First Ladies, in an undemanding, easy-to-read style, and aims to raise awareness of the historical significance of these women. Their abridged stories, sometimes joyful, sometimes sad, range from slavery, bigamy, duels, royal snubs, European conflicts, American wars, assassinations and suffrage, and demonstrate how the Ladies might be seen as victims of history. The text includes a basic review of the restricted evolution of the First Lady role during the first hundred years. The aim is that the book will encourage foundational study in colleges and schools, and inspire anyone who is interested in presidential history to deeper levels of publications and study.

The author is an English woman, married to a dental surgeon, both of whom fell in love with America when they first visited the country twenty-five years ago. She served as a Justice of the Peace in England for over twenty-five years, and also worked in the National Health Service for a number of years, serving on two Health Service boards as a non-executive director. She has written for various British regional magazines and newspapers; currently she is the editor of a bi-annual magazine for the Costa del Sol Decorative and Fine Arts Society in Spain. She and her husband divide their time between homes in England and Spain, and continue to visit America whenever they can (La Jolla in California is their favourite spot.)
My Take:  I will be using this book as part of my history text for my daughter for school next year.  I found the book very well presented and it was nice to get to know the women behind the men.  I am sure that my daughter will find it interesting also.

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