Jennifer Nelson's Reviews > Nellie Taft

Nellie Taft by Carl Sferrazza Anthony
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Mar 10, 12

bookshelves: 2012-books, presidential-books
Read from February 07 to March 05, 2012

I wouldn’t have normally chosen to read a book such as this, but I had a hard time finding a biography of William Taft that looked good to me (I am reading through all of the presidents). The story of a very head-strong, determined, bossy woman does not appeal to me in the least, but I still did find this book interesting to read and a good peek into early 1900s life in America. What an interesting time period it was! There were a lot of changes going on in the world at that time.

I was especially saddened to read about Nellie’s dominance over her husband, the worst of it being her pushing him into the presidency when all he’d ever dreamed of was being Supreme Court Chief Justice. At an early age she determined that she would marry a future president and she made sure that it came true (with all of her strength and unstoppable determination). It was also scary to find out how much control she had over Taft during the presidency (in some ways America has already had a woman president). Ironically, however, Nellie did suffer a stroke during the presidency and was incapacitated for months. I was satisfied to learn that Taft did eventually reach his dream of being Supreme Court Justice (what a moment for him!) after serving as president. By this time, Nellie had relinquished quite a bit of control over him and this was probably the best time of his life: doing what he had always dreamed of doing, exactly what suited his nature and personality.

Nellie was an extremely irritating person to read about: headstrong, opinionated, unemotional, harsh, driven, detached, bossy, somewhat of a whiner, unimaginative, and completely dominating. She did, however, soften with age and I felt a touch of liking for her in reading about her latter days.

Overall, this book is decently written and includes lots of interesting facts. Like I said, I normally wouldn’t have chosen reading material like this, but don’t regret that I read it. It is always interesting to learn more about the lives that have gone before us, to learn from their mistakes and gain encouragement from their successes and accomplishments.
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