Saturday, October 21, 2017

Book Review: 'Madam President' by William Hazelgrove

Chicago author William Hazelgrove has developed a significant following as the author of thirteen novels - Ripples, Tobacco Sticks, Mica Highways, Rocket Man, The Pitcher, Real Santa, Jack Pine, Hemingway’s Attic, My Best Year, The Bad Author, and now Madam President. While his books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly and Booklist, Book of the Month Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards Junior Library Guild Selections and optioned for the movie, his major appeal is in his humanitarian approach to stories. William stays close too the heart in each of his stories, making each tale he spins one with which everyone can relate on an immediate or a remembered level.

His latest novel MADAM PRESIDENT he enters historical biography and proves that this also is a realm in which he understands both the characters, the seminal political timing of this story in the time of the possibility of the first woman to be elected President, and in doing so he brings about an appreciation for just how far we have come in 100 years.

William states in his author’s note, ‘Most people don't know about the woman who married a sitting President, only had four years of school, and ended up running the White House from 1919 to 1921. But Edith Wilson did just that. When Woodrow Wilson had a stroke that left him incapacitated and bedridden, his wife stepped in and effectively became the President. This is hard for people to believe but it was the best kept secret of 1919 and has remained so up to this day. So here is the real story of Edith Wilson, our First Woman President.’ And the publisher adds the following expansion – ‘With the possibility of our First Woman President on the horizon, it is amazing to think that Edith Wilson ruled the White House almost a hundred years ago. Taking over from her ailing husband she had only two years of schooling and had been married to Woodrow Wilson for four years when she found the reins of power in her lap. Edith Wilson had to finish up the negotiations for the end of World War I while keeping her husband alive as suffragettes protested outside the White House for the vote. This riveting story of a very unique woman who ran the country for almost two years can finally be told on the eve of another possible woman in the White House. Edith Wilson can teach us a lot about a potential Hillary Clinton presidency as she governed with a sick husband at her back and a country recovering from World War I.’

Enough said. William Hazelgrove continues to grow as a writer of importance whose breadth of interest in topics for novels is truly astonishing. He is one of the big ones! Grady Harp, October 16
I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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