A comprehensive work about the first families' children, this is the only book available that treats these privileged few at any depth. The reading is enjoyable, answering questions such as, What happened to...? and, Did this president have any children? The book also is informative, glimpsing the lives of a few who have been shoved into the limelight at a certain period and for generations to come. Historically, the work functions sometimes as a period piece, sometimes as a human interest piece, but it always serves to help bring to life our first families. Included (where possible and/or appropriate) are the vital statistics of birth, marriage, education, development, profession, and death. The book is a good read, but it also serves an historical function. Aside from the fact that the book is informative, reading about the lives of the children of America's chief executives is like peering into a moment of the American equivalent of royalty. Observing the exciting, painful, humdrum, and heartfelt experiences of both the children and the families may also serve to increase the reader's understanding of the real lives of these emulated families; that they too lead lives that are similar to every person's, except that they are in the historical spotlight. After all, leaders such as Lincoln and Kennedy were forced to continue governing the affairs of state as their sons died.
SANDRA L. QUINN-MUSGROVE is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio. She has authored academic and trade books, journal articles, and has written two weekly newspaper columns over the last 11 years. SANFORD KANTER is instructor in the Department of History at San Jacinto Community College in Houston. He has authored articles on military history for academic journals and is coauthor with Quinn-Musgrove of How to Pass Essay Examinations.