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Becoming Madam Secretary by Stephanie Dray
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Becoming Madam Secretary (edition 2024)

by Stephanie Dray (Author)

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8813312,466 (4.52)8
She took on titans, battled generals, and changed the world as we know it... New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray returns with a captivating and dramatic new novel about an American heroine Frances Perkins. Raised on tales of her revolutionary ancestors, Frances Perkins arrives in New York City at the turn of the century, armed with her trusty parasol and an unyielding determination to make a difference. When she's not working with children in the crowded tenements in Hell's Kitchen, Frances throws herself into the social scene in Greenwich Village, befriending an eclectic group of politicians, artists, and activists, including the millionaire socialite Mary Harriman Rumsey, the flirtatious budding author Sinclair Lewis, and the brilliant but troubled reformer Paul Wilson, with whom she falls deeply in love. But when Frances meets a young lawyer named Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a tea dance, sparks fly in all the wrong directions. She thinks he's a rich, arrogant dilettante who gets by on a handsome face and a famous name. He thinks she's a priggish bluestocking and insufferable do-gooder. Neither knows it yet, but over the next twenty years, they will form a historic partnership that will carry them both to the White House. Frances is destined to rise in a political world dominated by men, facing down the Great Depression as FDR's most trusted lieutenant--even as she struggles to balance the demands of a public career with marriage and motherhood. And when vicious political attacks mount and personal tragedies threaten to derail her ambitions, she must decide what she's willing to do--and what she's willing to sacrifice--to save a nation.… (more)
Member:bookchickdi
Title:Becoming Madam Secretary
Authors:Stephanie Dray (Author)
Info:Berkley (2024), 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Becoming Madam Secretary by Stephanie Dray

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Stephanie Dray once again proves herself as a top-notch historical novelist with her thorough research and captivating storytelling. Her books offer an engaging blend of history and insightful biography, providing readers with a deep understanding of the main character's life and era. I highly recommend this book as well as all of her other works! ( )
  khoyt | Jun 17, 2024 |
A historical fiction novel about the first female US Cabinet Secretary - Frances Perkins, who was the Secretary of Labor under FDR for his entire presidency. Due to her tenacity, we have Social Security, Medicare, a less than 12 hour workday, and rules around child labor, as well as safety in the workplace. I was amazed at her efforts to create a safer and more equitable environment for laborers, and to get America working again during the Great Depression. She is the architect of the New Deal. I am so glad I read this book as I learned so much about this amazing woman who put her country and her commitment to social justice above all else, while struggling with a difficult home situation-her as her husband, and later her daughter, were mentally ill. ( )
  rmarcin | May 4, 2024 |
Though this is a longer read it has a wonderful flow, taking the reader on a first-person journey through the life of Frances Perkins, a woman that I knew nothing about until I picked up this book. I truly believe this is how a historical fiction should be done! It is on the lengthier side, but it has to be with the wealth of information that it bears witness to. If the author wrote about all that Frances Perkins did within her lifetime it would be thousands of pages, so I am thankful for this condensed version, and all of the time and research it must’ve taken to write this book.

There is a lot of ground to cover and the way the author approached it was seamless, making the whole narrative feel very cohesive as we see Frances Perkins professional and personal lives fleshed out in dazzling technicolor. I’ve never really studied the political climate during this particular era, so I found a lot of the history fascinating.

I love how historical fiction gives emotion to historical facts. I’ve studied the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster and what happened in those thirty horrifying minutes several times, but reading the account in this novel made the tragedy technicolor. How working conditions could be so inhumane is sickening. These businesses made people become the machines when it’s supposed to be the other way around. Also seeing the signing of the Social Security Act was truly a touching moment that really summed up everything that Frances and FDR went through together.

I hate that I did not know the name Frances Perkins before now, but I am thankful to not have to say that again. She was a trailblazer and champion that should be taught and talked about more often than she is. She ruffled feathers with her dogged determination for Jewish immigrants and fighting for her social insurance plan which would become what we now know as social security. Without her tireless efforts we would not have programs in place that have aided millions and I am so very grateful for her passion for human rights, even when it was at the expense of her own personal struggles.

*I have voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I received from the publisher through NetGalley. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest, and my own. ( )
  cflores0420 | Apr 30, 2024 |
Story of Frances Perkins who became the first woman Secretary of Labor and the first woman in the US Cabinet. A New Englander her intelligence and fortitude shined in her early resolve to do something good for others. This slightly fictionalized biography we see her experience with trying to improve working conditions especially for women and children. She witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire which strengthened her resolve. Early in her career she worked in Albany NY as a lobbyist, worked for Al Smith, and met a young FDR. There is much about her working and friend relationship with FDR.
Frances married, had a daughter and had to work when mental illness claimed her husband and he was institutionalized.
The writing style is stilted and formal of the type found in early 20th century writing. ( )
  bblum | Apr 4, 2024 |
I don't know why I didn't know more about Frances Perkins before this fictionalization of her life. Considering the time my high school history teachers spent on Alexander Hamilton, one would think the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet, who masterminded multiple New Deal programs, and was the driving force behind Social Security, deserved at least equal time. I really enjoyed this novel, which gives the reader a sense of the person Frances Perkins was as well as the struggles she faced. Overall, a great read about a remarkable woman who deserves more attention from both historians and novelists. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 30, 2024 |
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She took on titans, battled generals, and changed the world as we know it... New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray returns with a captivating and dramatic new novel about an American heroine Frances Perkins. Raised on tales of her revolutionary ancestors, Frances Perkins arrives in New York City at the turn of the century, armed with her trusty parasol and an unyielding determination to make a difference. When she's not working with children in the crowded tenements in Hell's Kitchen, Frances throws herself into the social scene in Greenwich Village, befriending an eclectic group of politicians, artists, and activists, including the millionaire socialite Mary Harriman Rumsey, the flirtatious budding author Sinclair Lewis, and the brilliant but troubled reformer Paul Wilson, with whom she falls deeply in love. But when Frances meets a young lawyer named Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a tea dance, sparks fly in all the wrong directions. She thinks he's a rich, arrogant dilettante who gets by on a handsome face and a famous name. He thinks she's a priggish bluestocking and insufferable do-gooder. Neither knows it yet, but over the next twenty years, they will form a historic partnership that will carry them both to the White House. Frances is destined to rise in a political world dominated by men, facing down the Great Depression as FDR's most trusted lieutenant--even as she struggles to balance the demands of a public career with marriage and motherhood. And when vicious political attacks mount and personal tragedies threaten to derail her ambitions, she must decide what she's willing to do--and what she's willing to sacrifice--to save a nation.

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