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Martha Washington
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About the Author

Patricia Brady has a Ph.D. in history from Tulane University and served for twenty years as director of publications at the Historic New Orleans Collection. Her previous books include George Washington's Beautiful Nell. She is the recipient of a Mellon fellowship.

Reviews

The portrait of the beautiful, elegant young woman on the cover of this excellent biography will stun anyone used to seeing pictures of Martha Washington as a white-haired, matronly woman. And in a richly woven tapestry of social history and biography, historian Brady re-creates the 18th-century world of wealthy Virginia planters into which the elegant Martha, n?e Dandridge, was born and the "joyful duet" of her marriage to America's first president. Though born to wealth, Martha (1731-1802) was well schooled in domestic skills-from killing and plucking fowl to preserving fruits and vegetables- and the expected social graces. Just before she turned 19, Martha married Daniel Custis-whose father initially opposed the union, but Martha managed to persuade him otherwise-and moved to his large plantation, where she raised their two children until Custis's death in 1757. Two years later, as the owner of Custis's vast estate, she married George Washington and became the wife of a young colonel whose ambitions and military and political ingenuity catapulted him into the leadership of the colonies and later the republic. Devoted to George, Martha accompanied him on his sojourns during the Revolutionary War, and her considerable social skills were crucial in helping her husband navigate the difficult political waters of the presidency. Brady's splendid biography offers a compelling new portrait of this passionate, committed founding mother who has unjustly been obscured by others, such as Abigail Adams. (June 27) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

This solid, scholarly biography, based on published primary sources and manuscript collections, transforms Martha Dandridge Custis Washington from a stodgy historical figure into a charming and vibrant woman. She is depicted as a very human but true heroine who remained steadfast through personal adversity and the uncertainties of war and revolution. The narrative is skillfully set within the context of both daily life and the political intrigues of 18th-century America. Brady, a former director of publications at the Historic New Orleans Collections, stays close to the documentary sources, dismissing the speculation about interracial liaisons in the Custis and Washington families explored in recent works such as Helen Bryan's Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty and Harry Wiencek's An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America. Martha's faults, including an unquestioning acceptance of slavery, are not ignored, but this is essentially an admiring biography that focuses on her indomitable spirit and her considerable influence as George Washington's wife and confidante. This work joins Bryan's book as one of only two full-length biographies of Martha Washington published in the past 40 years. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Linda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsville Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Pat Brady rectifies history s omission in this informative and entertaining biography of the first First Lady. (Cokie Roberts, author of "Founding Mothers") Splendid... a compelling new portrait of a woman and her time. ("The Atlanta Journal-Constitution")
Pat Brady rectifies historyas omission in this informative and entertaining biography of the first First Lady. (Cokie Roberts, author of "Founding Mothers") Splendid... a compelling new portrait of a woman and her time. ("The Atlanta Journal-Constitution")
Pat Brady rectifies historys omission in this informative and entertaining biography of the first First Lady. (Cokie Roberts, author of "Founding Mothers") Splendid... a compelling new portrait of a woman and her time. ("The Atlanta Journal-Constitution")
Pat Brady rectifies history's omission in this informative and entertaining biography of the first First Lady. (Cokie Roberts, author of "Founding Mothers") Splendid... a compelling new portrait of a woman and her time. ("The Atlanta Journal-Constitution")

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