'Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know' about women in politics
In "Bringing Home the White House," Melissa Estes Blair introduces us to five fascinating yet largely unheralded women who were at the heart of campaigns to elect and reelect some of our most beloved presidents. By examining the roles of these political strategists in affecting the outcome of presidential elections, Blair sheds light on their historical importance and the relevance of their individual influence.
In the middle decades of the twentieth century, both major political parties had Women's Divisions. The leaders of these divisions–five women who held the job from 1932 until 1958–organized tens of thousands of women all over the country, turning them into the "saleswomen for the party" by providing them with talking points, fliers and other material they needed to strike up political conversations with their friends and neighbors. The leaders of the Women's Divisions also produced a huge portion of the media used by the campaigns–more than 90 percent of all print material in the 1930s–and were close advisors of the presidents of both parties. In spite of their importance, these women and their work have been left out of the narratives of mid-century America. In telling the story of these five West Wing women, Blair reveals the ways that women were central to American politics from the depths of the Great Depression to the height of the Cold War.