Untold Power: The Fascinating Rise and Complex Legacy of First Lady Edith Wilson

21,000+ Reviews
Bookshop.org has the highest-rated customer service of any bookstore in the world
Product Details
$30.00  $27.90
Publish Date
8.1 X 12.0 X 1.7 inches | 1.19 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Rebecca Boggs Roberts is an award-winning educator, author, and speaker, and is a leading historian of American women's suffrage and civic participation. Her books include the award-winning The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World; Suffragists in Washington, D.C.: The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote; and Historic Congressional Cemetery. She is currently deputy director of events at the Library of Congress, and has previously worked as a journalist, producer, tour guide, forensic anthropologist, event planner, political consultant, jazz singer, and radio talk show host. Roberts serves on the board of the National Archives Foundation, on the Council of Advisors of the Women's Suffrage National Monument Foundation, and on the Editorial Advisory Committee of the White House Historical Association. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, their three sons, and a long-eared hound dog.
"Quite simply a compelling yarn... Roberts's storytelling soars as she leads the reader through Edith's machinations to hide her husband's disabilities while maintaining his White House's functions."
--Washington Post

"[A] fast-moving, sure-footed biography..."Untold Power" is a delightful read"
--Wall Street Journal

"Untold Power is not a hagiography of Edith Wilson...[Roberts] uses Wilson's story not as an easy sell for the Women's History Month marketplace, but as a way to examine...entrenched power systems and to shade in a chapter of US history that set in motion the feminist cause"
--The Guardian

"Roberts isn't interested in venerating Wilson as a saint; nor is she looking to magnify the First Lady's flaws. Rather, she lets Edith be Edith, which is to say messy and complicated, as most humans are."
--The Washingtonian

"Historian Rebecca Boggs Roberts gives Edith her due, demonstrating that, as the first unelected woman to govern the country, Edith has no match...This well-told history, based on sources that are often at odds with Edith's own memoir, also begs the question: How could so much in the White House have gone unseen and unknown for so long? And, chillingly, could it happen again?"

"For the armchair historian, this richly embroidered narrative is a pleasure to read. Roberts is a fine storyteller, and she offers a compulsively readable, analytical biography of a complex woman too often depicted as a simple caricature...Roberts widens the lens traditionally focused on great white men to consider a broader set of historical actors, and to think about politics and power in a more nuanced way."
--Washington Monthly

"A solid biography of first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson...As Roberts succinctly puts it, Edith became 'the most powerful woman in the nation, ' while pretending to be 'nothing of the kind.' Enriched with incisive sketches of the era's political figures, including socialite Alice Roosevelt Longworth, and concise history lessons on the Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations, and more, this is a rich portrait of a singular first lady."
--Publishers Weekly

"Americans have often preferred their First Ladies to be merely decorative, aspiring to nothing beyond the role of devoted helpmate and gracious hostess. So, in 1919, good thing few people knew that for most of a year the power behind the presidential seal was not Woodrow Wilson--who lay incapacitated by a stroke--but his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson. In Untold Power, Rebecca Boggs Roberts paints a vivid and riveting portrait of Edith, in all her prickly, contradictory splendor. Told with gusto, historical care, wry humor, and crisp insight Boggs Roberts leads us on a spirited expedition in search of Edith, who dared to become that most dangerous thing, a woman wielding power."
--Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote