“A magisterially written, well-researched, informative, and entertaining biography of a woman who helped throw open the doors to broader participation and power for women in the Republican Party and American politics.”

—Dave Dempsey, author of William G. Milliken: Michigan’s Passionate Moderate

“[The book] can easily be called the best political biography of the year. . . .This is a book that should be on every political geek’s reading pile for fall. . . . Every person who cares about what’s going on in national politics should read this book and pass it on, especially to a young woman who more than likely has never heard of Elly Peterson.”

–Bill Castanier, Mittenlit (All about books and authors with a tie to Michigan)

 “This lively portrait of a leading woman in the Republican Party between 1952 and 1982 also charts the party’s shift to the right after 1964, revealingly viewed through the eyes of liberal Republican women.  The book’s many highlights include the rise of women withinMichiganstate politics and then within the Republican National Committee, the ERA campaign, and the International Women’s Year conference inHoustonin 1977.  Intensively researched with ethnographic attention to the subtleties of political culture, Fitzgerald’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in how the Republican Party changed during the turbulent decades after 1960 and how women and women’s issues shaped those changes.”

 –Kathryn Kish Sklar, Distinguised Professor of History,
State University of New York, Binghamton


“To understand the quest for equal rights inAmericayou really need to meet those women who were active at the time of transition. In this gripping biography we meet one woman who entered a male dominated world and triumphed.  She began in a world where it was considered a compliment for a woman to be thought of as thinking like a man.  By the end of her career as one of the great political organization people of her generation,  Elly Peterson helped open the door to a new age of equality and respect.  It was not easy and the quest is not over. There are many lessons to be learned in reading her story that is set in the context of the seismic transformations in the Republican Party in the late twentieth century.”

—Francis X. Blouin, Director,
Bentley Historical Library, UniversityofMichigan


Elly Peterson: ‘Mother’ of the Moderates will be a text to which historians and researchers turn for insight into the yin and yang of mainstream politics in the mid-century.”

–Patricia Sullivan, The Washington Post

“Splendid. . . Fitzgerald’s well-researched book is a gem for political junkies of all stripes, as well as for such serious folks as political commentators and historians.”

–George Weeks, columnist, Traverse City (Michigan) Record-Eagle

[Elly Peterson: “Mother” of the Moderates] is a fine book.  In telling the life of one woman, it also reveals the real world of party politics–the kind of stuff that doesn’t make it into American government texts. It’s a good read. Enjoy while you learn.”

–Jo Freeman, author of  A Room at a Time: How Women Entered Party Politics

“A solid biography. . . . [Peterson’s] extraordinary political career, as well as the changes in the [Republican] Party itself, are succinctly chronicled and presented in this captivating account. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library biography shelves.”

–Midwest Book Review


“If today’s polarized political culture is in danger of making you crazy, this book may make you actually weep with longing. . . . [Fitzgerald’s] chronicle of Peterson’s transformation into one of the first women to hold a national party leadership position is unrelentingly sharp. . . .Fitzgerald’s perspective as a political journalist is particularly acute as she examines the role of press coverage in Peterson’s campaigns.”

–Leah DuMouchel,






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