Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era by Carl Sferrazza Anthony

Nellie Taft

“‘Not quite grand enough’  sometimes seemed to be the rally cry which drove the ambitions of Nellie Taft.”

It has been a long held view that William Howard Taft never wanted to be President of the United States.  He loved the law, and it was his desire to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.  His wife, Nellie Taft, had other ambitions for him.  In Carl Sferrazza Anthony’s biography of the “ragtime era” first lady, we learn how Mrs. Taft had such a great influence upon her husband, that he agreed to an office he didn’t want because it was her desire.

There’s much to Nellie Taft’s (and her husband’s) story, and I found particularly interesting Taft’s governorship in the Philippines, their adversarial relationship with President and Mrs. Teddy Roosevelt, and Nellie Taft’s personality in general.  Anthony’s writing style, however, was in the traditional history mold, and there were times I found myself nodding off.  Still, I found it worth reading.

3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2005
534 pages


About Suzanne

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids who loves to read.
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