Heike Braun is 17 years old and from Germany. She comes to spend the summer holidays with her aunt and cousins who live on a farm in North Wales. She meets a young man, Peter Wetherby, who begins to show an interest in her. He lives in a big old house with his parents, two elderly hippies who love to party and to smoke marijuana. But is that the…
Miller explains clearly how these women influenced Woodrow Wilson's life and career. But she keeps her focus on the women themselves, placing their concerns and emotions in the foreground. She presents a balanced appraisal of each woman's strengths and weaknesses. She argues for Ellen's influence not only on her husband but on subsequent first ladies. She strives for an understanding of the controversial Edith, who saw herself as Wilson's principal advisor and, some would argue, acted as shadow president after his stroke. Miller also helps us better appreciate the role of Mary Allen Hulbert Peck, whose role as Wilson's "playmate" complemented that of Ellenbut was intolerable to Edith.
Especially because Woodrow Wilson continues to be one of the moststudied American presidents, the task of recognizing and understanding the influence of his wives is an important one. Drawing extensively on the Woodrow Wilson papers and newly available material, Miller's book answers that call with a sensitive and compelling narrative of how private and public emotions interacted at a pivotal moment in the history of first ladies.