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Lady First by Amy S. Greenberg
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Lady First

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Lady First by Amy S. Greenberg
Paperback $26.00
Jan 21, 2020 | ISBN 9780804173445

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    Jan 21, 2020 | ISBN 9780804173445

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  • Feb 05, 2019 | ISBN 9780385354141

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“Admirable. . . . Ahead of her time but critically aware of how she had to act within her time to wield power, Sarah Childress Polk was the most influential first lady in the century between Dolley Madison and Edith Wilson. ‘Private interactions within their powerful partnership,’ Ms. Greenberg acknowledges of James and Sarah, ‘strongly suggest that he thought her his equal.’ By all accounts, she was that and more.” Walter R. Borneman, The Wall Street Journal

“Sarah Polk comes alive in these pages, with Greenberg expertly illuminating the intersections of the public and private, providing readers a refreshing new way to look at 19th-century American political and social history. This is a highly recommended work.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“A must read for those who wish to understand why elite women have always stood at the center of Southern conservatism. Amy Greenberg’s remarkable biography of Sarah Polk will change the way we talk about political power. A First Lady dismissed as ‘idle,’ and shielded from the harsh world of partisan combat, she was the first White House mistress to wield real power; one who was considered by her husband a genuine partner. She did not claim equal rights for women, but used her inside knowledge and class stature to fashion herself as a political player who did not threaten the divine order of the sexes. In assuming the role of a deferential female, Sarah Polk exercised greater power than any other woman of the antebellum era.” —Nancy Isenberg, author of White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America and coauthor of The Problem of Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality

“Though largely forgotten, this concise but thorough biography brings [Sarah Polk] back into the light. An illuminating study of a nontraditional female powerhouse.” —Kirkus

“More social history than biography, [Lady First] traces Polk’s steadily growing expertise in charming, manipulating, and exerting pressure to abet her husband’s political career, which made for lasting change in Democratic Party policies. . . . [A]n in-depth, telling account of a largely overlooked woman who was able to effect profound influence while working within the constraints of her time and place.” —Kathleen McBroom, Booklist

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