Barbara Hoagland

The Washingtons: George and Martha by Flora Fraser

Much has been written about George Washington, but Fraser’s examination of the marriage between George and Martha is unique. Their decades-long marriage was punctuated by revolution, the creation of a new country and personal tragedy. Through the years their love and admiration for each other was apparent to all who knew them. Fraser has done a commendable job of revealing how they leaned on each other; whether it was domestic issues or a recalcitrant Continental Congress, George and Martha looked to each other for advice and sustenance. Fraser’s book is a revealing look at both the Mother and Father and the Nation. – Barbara Hoagland

Lady Bird and Lyndon by Betty Caroli

Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President By Betty Boyd Caroli Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781439191224
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 27th, 2015

Marriage is a complicated relationship and the marriage between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson was more complicated than some. While a brief look would indicate Lyndon was the driving force in that relationship, Caroli posits that Lady Bird was the guiding hand that led him to the presidency. A sad and lonely childhood forged a personality of steel and determination that belied her soft Southern manner. She was a shrewd businesswoman and skilled politician who wooed those whose approval she (and Lyndon) needed. That she also managed the oversized personality of her husband is revelatory, as is the information that Lyndon quite likely suffered from bipolar disorder. Her life was complicated and Caroli has done an admirable job of revealing an interesting and compelling 20th century first lady. – Barbara Hoagland

Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton

Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince By Lisa Hilton Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780544577848
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - November 10th, 2015

While there are a multitude of biographies of Elizabeth, Hilton has delved into the life of this Tudor monarch from a slightly different perspective, giving us a more nuanced portrait as a result. From her birth until her death, Elizabeth’s life was one long invention; she created one of the most successful courts in Europe using her femininity to cover the iron will that allowed her to govern a nation and confound her fellow rulers. Hilton also details Elizabeth’s loves and how she subjugated these loves to the necessity of rule. It’s an unusual and insightful look at an always fascinating woman and time in British history. – Barbara Hoagland

My History by Antonia Fraser

Fraser’s earliest days were spent in an aristocratic family in pre-World War II Britain. Her parents were both deeply involved in politics, while Antonia was mesmerized by history; it was the one constant in her life, and she researched and wrote one magnificent historical biography after another including Mary, Queen of Scots, The Wives of Henry VIII, and Faith and Treason. This memoir is a lyrical celebration of a time and place that has largely disappeared, and a great companion to the memoir she wrote on her marriage and partnership with Harold Pinter (Must You Go?). – Barbara Hoagland

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
Mary Queen of Scots By Antonia Fraser Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385311298
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Delta - September 1st, 1993

The Wives of Henry VIII By Antonia Fraser Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679730019
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Vintage - November 30th, 1993

Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot By Antonia Fraser Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385471909
Published: Anchor - October 13th, 1997

Must You Go?: My LIfe With Harold Pinter By Lady Antonia Fraser Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307475572
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Anchor - October 4th, 2011

Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal by Jay Parini

Gore Vidal was not only a 20th century literary icon, he was also an iconoclastic critic of his age. He came in contact with virtually every notable figure of his time and usually had something acerbic to say about each of them. Parini was a close friend of Vidal and, thus, has had unprecedented access to documents, letters and reminisces of those who were close to both men. The figure we see in this ambitious biography is brilliant as well as troubled. Gore Vidal was not only a man of his time, but a man of the world, and we are lucky to have access to his life through the eyes of a friend who is a skilled biographer as well. – Barbara Hoagland

Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey

Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA By Roberta Kaplan, Edie Windsor (Foreword by), Lisa Dickey (With) Cover Image
By Roberta Kaplan, Edie Windsor (Foreword by), Lisa Dickey (With)
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ISBN: 9780393248678
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 5th, 2015

Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer were in a committed relationship for over 40 years but were denied the legal recognition marriage in the United States would convey. When Spyer died, Windsor was forced to pay enormous estate taxes because their Canadian marriage was not recognized.  Roberta Kaplan became lead attorney in the case that would ultimately come before the United States Supreme Court which would then declare the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. This decision was one of the major civil rights cases that led to the eventual ruling on marriage equality throughout the country. Kaplan and Windsor’s story is captivating from both a personal and a legal standpoint, and the details of their fight for equality are an important part of civil rights history. – Barbara Hoagland

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

The Witches: Salem, 1692 By Stacy Schiff Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316200608
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Little, Brown and Company - October 27th, 2015

The Massachusetts Bay Colony in the late 1600s would appear to have been overrun by the Devil, who infiltrated the colony via witchcraft. Founded by the Puritans who fled Europe in order to practice their religion in the way they saw fit, the colony was a rigidly run theocracy. The Devil was as real as night and day, and once the accusations of witchcraft began flying a kind of mass hysteria took hold. Schiff has done a brilliant job of untangling this most incredible story. The reasons are complex and ultimately tragic for the innocents who were put to death. Schiff brings alive a story that to the modern mind beggars comprehension as she draws us into the world of 17th century New England. That world was a frightening place which became even more terrifying with the realization that anyone around you could be a pawn of the Devil. – Barbara Hoagland

A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George

A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel By Elizabeth George Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525954330
Published: Viking - October 27th, 2015

Detective Sargent Barbara Havers has been forced to sign a transfer request to Berwick-upon-Tweed which Detective Superintendent Isabelle Ardery keeps on her desk waiting for Havers’ next wrong move. Havers, on the other hand, is frantic to get back into the game of solving murders and is willing to risk the horrors of a transfer to do so. When a prominent feminist dies of an apparent heart attack, Havers is drawn into examining the death, which is more complicated than it appears. Lynley does his best to guide her in a prudent direction during the investigation, but, as usual, she goes her own way. In the process, she uncovers more than enough motives to incriminate a cast of murderers. Once again, George has given us, the reader, ample opportunity to escape into the world of Lynley and Havers as well as to delve into murder most vile. Terrific. – Barbara Hoagland

Katrina: After the Flood by Gary Rivlin

Ten years ago Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, wiping out entire communities and taking thousands of lives. Rivlin focuses on New Orleans, conveying a vivid picture of what happened during the hurricane and the even greater catastrophe that occurred when the levees broke and entire sections of the city went underwater. New Orleans has always been unique, and Rivlin’s tale of the city’s reconstruction, both good and bad are here. Racism, poverty, great wealth and greed all played a part in the eventual remaking of a great city. – Barbara Hoagland

The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age by Joyce Carol Oates

The Lost Landscape: A Writer's Coming of Age By Joyce Carol Oates Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062408679
Published: Ecco - September 8th, 2015

Growing up in a small town in western New York State, Joyce Carol Oates was far from the acclaimed literary giant that she is today. A shy girl with a vivid imagination and an endless fascination with storytelling, she grew into one of the literary world’s most prolific writers. Her memoir frankly explores her family history and the fragility of her, and thus our, childhood memories. This is a deeply felt and deftly told memoir of an extraordinary individual. – Barbara Hoagland