Mark Twain

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hidden Power by Kati Marton

When my sister lent me this book and said it was good, I will admit to being a bit skeptical. I mean, it is a book about First Ladies. I couldn't help but wonder if this was a "chic" book - something that would only appeal to women. I was sure that there would be no surprises. After all, the First Ladies were all from the 20th century, with one inclusion of the Bush's from this century. I lived through many of the periods they talked about.

I was pretty much wrong on all counts.

This book focused on the marriages more than the First Ladies. It was sort of glimpse inside the lives of twelve couples who happened to live inside a "fish bowl" called the Presidency. The book details the behind-the-scenes dynamics of these couples starting with their early life together, their climb up the political ladder, and how they managed as a couple within the confines of the Presidency.

Achieving the job of President requires a certain talent, ego, and luck. Historically it seems that it also takes a special pair of people to manage the supreme effort it takes to get that job and to survive in it. It was abundantly clear that no matter how dysfunctional the marriage was, the strengths of the first spouses balanced the weakness and tempered the responses of the person holding office ... sort of like two sides of the same coin. It was an interesting study in human nature.

It is worth a read if you are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at marriages under unusual circumstances.

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