cover image Breakthrough: The Making of America's First Woman President

Breakthrough: The Making of America's First Woman President

Nancy L. Cohen. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26 (325p) ISBN 978-1-61902-611-7

In this well-researched work, historian Cohen (Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America) sets out to find out why the U.S. has never elected a woman to its highest office. She interviews scores of female leaders (but not Hillary Clinton), including Susan Collins, Republican Senator from Maine; Jennifer Granholm, Democratic former governor of Michigan; Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood; and Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily%E2%80%99s List, a pro-choice political action committee. Cohen also delves into statistics and historical scholarship, ruefully noting that %E2%80%9Cone of American women%E2%80%99s first major contribution to public policy was Prohibition.%E2%80%9D Along the way, she uncovers some surprises; some recent studies find no credible evidence of gender bias in media electoral coverage%E2%80%94%E2%80%9Cwomen and men were equally likely to have their looks and family life mentioned%E2%80%9D%E2%80%94and indicate that %E2%80%9Cpartisanship and ideology trump gender%E2%80%9D when Americans vote. Cohen covers the Republican Party%E2%80%99s trouble attracting female voters, and finds that women in office are more willing to cross party lines than their male counterparts. Clinton%E2%80%99s 2016 run for the presidency is clearly central to Cohen%E2%80%99s narrative, but the book is mostly not about her, focusing instead on the many others (mainly women) who have worked to get America to the point where electing a female president seems entirely possible. [em](Feb.) [/em]