The Highest Glass Ceiling:

Women’s Quest for the American Presidency

A New York Times Editor’s Choice

Since Victoria Woodhull launched her symbolic bid for the presidency in 1872, dozens of women have sought the presidency over the past 150 years. Their quest began long before women won the vote and it unfolded over decades when a woman’s pursuit of any higher political office was met with prejudice, mockery, and hostility. Even after women started voting in 1920, they remained shut out of rooms where presidential candidacies were often born. Whether a woman will break through the glass ceiling during the current election cycle is uncertain, Fitzpatrick acknowledges— but it will happen sooner or later.

Editorial Reviews

“Ellen Fitzpatrick’s wise and winning, The Highest Glass Ceiling, is destined to become the Profiles in Courage of the 2016 Presidential election, situating this year’s presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in a historic field of bold female contenders, with special focus on the three who previously came closest―Victoria Woodhull, Margaret Chase Smith, and Shirley Chisolm. What enabled these women to ‘step out of context and into history,’ as a Los Angeles Times reporter wrote of Smith, to ‘shake it up, make it change,’ as Chisolm aimed to do? Fitzpatrick’s compelling portraits supply not just the how and when, but also the why, teaching valuable lessons that everyone who cares about American presidential politics will be grateful to learn.”

Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Margaret Fuller

“Why has it taken so long for a woman to be taken seriously when she runs for President of the United States? There are stories to be told about that and Presidential historian Ellen Fitzpatrick does so superbly in The Highest Glass Ceiling. Her account of the women who did, in fact, go for the top job makes for great reading as well as a much-needed filling of important gaps in American political history. This is a terrific book that is chock full of small tidbits that add up to important surprises for anyone who thinks they already know everything about presidential politics.”

Jim Lehrer, former executive editor, PBS NewsHour

Author Biography

Ellen Fitzpatrick is a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire.

Reader Biography

Jo Anna Perrin is an audiobook narrator whose readings include Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy T. Behary, You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin, American Freak Show by Willie Geist, and many others.

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