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This first comprehensive study of the medical histories of America’s first ladies–from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama–discusses their illnesses, their treatments and their physicians in the context of their times. As the categories of illness afflicting Americans have changed through history so have the kinds of maladies affecting the first ladies. Infectious diseases and the consequences of poorly supervised pregnancies have been replaced by cerebrovascular accidents and malignancies.
The secrecy with which the White House has traditionally handled inquiries about the health of the president’s wife is explored in detail; however, several first ladies, notably Betty Ford, have been transparent about their illnesses in order to educate the public. The effects of a first lady’s responsibilities on her health is examined. This book also seeks to discern how the well-being of the first lady influences presidential performance.
Excellent book, very well written. Covers many facts about the health of our First Ladies that are not well known. Very enjoyable reading, hard to put down.
Fascinating medical histories of the first ladies, the evolution of American medicine, and the effects upon the presidency. The Health of the First Ladies is a unique work which details the fascinating medical histories of the wives of the presidents of the United States. This book is a natural follow up to Professor Deppisch's 2007 book, The White House Physician, which discussed presidential health with a focus on the evolution and formalization of the role of the White House physician. The Health of the First Ladies obviously addresses women's health issues, but also offers important insights into the status of Americans' health and the development of American medicine from the 18th to the early 21st century. The book also offers important observations on the markedly varying roles the first ladies have had in both the political and presidential lives of their husbands. Professor Deppisch is a meticulous researcher and the book is comprehensively footnoted and has a detailed bibliography. Serious students of history will appreciate this erudite presentation and the book will serve as a reference for future studies. Despite the scholarly content, the book is written in an accessible, enjoyable style. Professor Deppisch includes interesting vignettes throughout, which coupled with the interesting medical histories of the first ladies, makes for a very satisfying read.
Very well written, interesting and informative. Facts about our First Ladies that are not well known. Would highly recommend reading it.
This latest book from Dr. Deppisch is a worthy follow-up to his The White House Physician. I found it to be a comprehensive, extremely well-researched look into America's First Ladies and how their health issues often mirrored the issues of the general population. Like Dr. Deppisch's first book, I enjoyed learning about the history of medicine in the U.S. and how its advances affected the inhabitants of the White House. I especially found it fascinating to learn about how some Presidents' policies and decision-making were directly influenced by the health of their closest confidantes, their wives--and our First Ladies.