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I genuinely enjoyed this book,  and for many reasons.  I love a good biography.  Learning about real people, especially those who are so interesting and enjoyable, is always fun for me.  Also, I love  history, particularly American history, and this book is full of interesting information about nearly a century of American history and politics. 

The subject of this book, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, was the eldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt and his first wife, who dies just days after Alice’s birth, and also within days of her mother-in-law,  Teddy’s beloved mother.   With two such devastating losses  suffered at the same time, T.R., as he is called in the book, essentially checks out of fatherhood and allows his sister to begin to raise Alice.  Only  after his remarriage, at the insistence of his new wife, does Alice become a part of Teddy’s life.  Although present is reality, T.R. is distant in spirit.  Even with many half-siblings,  Alice finds family life at the White House rather lonely.  With no mother and an absentee father and step-mother, the trouble that the growing Alice gets herself into is inevitable.  Her antics are at once hilarious and heart-breaking.  Finally finding love,  or so she thinks, Alice eventually marries Congressman Nicholas Longworth and remains interested in politics for the rest of her lift.  It is the only constant in a life otherwise filled with turmoil.  Her husband is less than faithful, but she staunchly supports his political career, largely in the hopes of getting back into the White House.  She eventually settles into a life of comfort, surrounded  by family and friends, and some of the  most powerful and influential people in Washington.  Becoming legendary for her wit, her sharp tongue, and her ability to bring together  the movers and shakers of our nation, Alice herself becomes a force to be reckoned with in Washington.  Her invitations were nearly as sought after as an invite to the White House itself.  She had the ear of politicians and their admiration too.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth was infamous as the first daughter while she was young, and famous in her own right as an adult.  She was colorful, outrageous, brilliant, shy, outspoken, influential.  She was fixture in Washington while she lived and remains one of the most famous presidential children ever.   She witnessed first hand nearly a century of American politics with a front row seat.  Such a figure is rare indeed.  

If you want to know this extraordinary woman and see American politics through her distinct perspective, I highly recommend this book.  I give it 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

Reviewed by:  Anna

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This book is a mite intimidating at first glance, just because of it’s size.  However, once I began reading, I realized that there was nothing to fear.  This author has a very easy to read style of writing, and given the interesting subject matter, I was done in no time.  This is a very expansive biography of Lincoln’s political life.  However, I found it a bit slim on the personal front.  If Lincoln the politician is the man you are after, then this is the book for you.  I found it very similar in content to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”, which was also fascinating.  There is definitely more of Lincoln’s early life and personal life in this book than in Goodwin’s, but. to my mind, this book is predominantly a political bio., as I said before.  Although I found it light on personal information, that is not to say that I did not enjoy the book.  I found it to be very well-written, and although it is a sizable book, I read it on my kindle, which made it more convenient.  Having just witnessed a most interesting presidential race and inauguration, I found this book particularly interesting to read, at this time in our history.  The passion and intelligence of Abraham Lincoln are most inspiring, and after reading this book, I found a renewed sense of admiration for him.  I truly believe he was our greatest president.  Read this book and be inspired.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookmarks.  

Reviewed by:  Anna

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This hefty tome by Walter Isaacson was a bit intimidating upon first glance, due not only to its size, but also due to its subject matter.  I love a good biography as much as the next reader, but just how much of Einstein’s work would be included in this book was what I was concerned with.  As it turns out, I had not much to fear.  Isaacson’s style of writing is very user-friendly, and while he does go into some detail, albeit in layman’s terms, of Einstein’s theories, this information is nicely interwoven with personal aspects of his life, so the reader gets a nice break in between technical descriptions of mathematical concepts.  The book is laid out chronologically, so we readers get a fairly clear picture of what was going on personally and socially, as well as professionally at the time that Einstein had his major breakthroughs in the world of physics.  The descriptions of Einstein’s thought experiments are at once fascinating, sometimes hard to follow, and also enlightening.  All at once , one has a clear idea of “theoretical” physics.  This book is able to make this very complicated figure accessible.  He is portrayed sympathetically, but his flaws are not sugar-coated.  Einstein was self-involved, but also very connected to the bigger world in which he finds himself, as indicated by his social activism.  He is larger than life and very human.  It is the combination of these qualities that draws us in.  So brilliant and yet so simple.

I believe that this portrait of Albert Einstein is comprehensive and easy to read.  It makes clear the brilliance of this man, and at the same time makes the reader almost believe that anyone could have thought these same thoughts, but just didn’t.  Almost being the operative word.

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 bookmarks.

Reviewed by:  Anna

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