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The Making of America's First Woman President

List Price: $26.00

February 9, 2016 | Hardcover | 6 x 9, 325 Pages | ISBN 9781619026117
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“This book is a fascinating and gripping story of how we got here and the smart women who have made it happen. Powerfully written.” —The Rumpus

More than fifty nations around the world have elected women to lead them with one gigantic exception: the United States. America, the birthplace of modern democracy, has never elected a woman president, and women have wielded substantially less political power than men.

But as social change sweeps through the nation, are we finally at a turning point? Is the double standard dead?

In her page-turning new book, Cohen artfully chronicles the current state of women’s political leadership on the cusp of great historic change. We’ll meet the savvy women who are building an alternative to the Old Boys Club and rewriting the playbook for how women can thrive in the political arena. We’ll get an in-depth look at the history of women in politics and expert research on how Americans — finally — became ready to elect a woman president.

Based on more than 125 interviews with major figures in both political parties, including senators, governors, and behind-the-scenes power-brokers, Breakthrough will be required reading for the tumultuous and game-changing 2016 political season.

NANCY L. COHEN is a historian and author of four books, including the widely acclaimed Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America and The Reconstruction of American Liberalism. Her writing on American politics has appeared in the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, and other publications. She has taught politics and history at Occidental College, UCLA, and Cal State Long Beach. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. For more information, visit


“This book is a fascinating and gripping story of how we got here and the smart women who have made it happen. Powerfully written.” —The Rumpus

“Chapters examining Hillary Clinton’s strengths and weaknesses as the most likely person to crash the highest glass ceiling and the problems Republican women candidates face in attaining a nomination in their party provide thoughtful and balanced perspectives on the challenges unique to women in government… Women’s studies and political science students as well as those who enjoy reading about women in politics will find this work to be informative and engaging.” —Library Journal

“…well-researched work.” —Publishers Weekly

“A nationally recognized historian and expert on women in politics, Cohen’s interviews with trailblazing women elected officials, NGO executives, pollsters, and grassroots organizers sheds important light on the dividing and cohesive elements certain to influence the next presidential election. Whether one thinks Hillary Clinton is a shoo-in or long shot, Cohen’s well- reasoned and -researched treatise illuminates this defining moment in American history.” —Booklist

“Although the author argues that Americans don’t consider ‘trustworthiness a distinctly feminine trait or intelligence a distinctly masculine one,’ she believes that women are more compassionate and collaborative than men and that their leadership is vastly important…In her brisk analysis, Cohen feels optimistic that the next election will cross ‘a historic threshold.'” —Kirkus

“A great account of the commitment, camaraderie, and capability of the women who’ve worked to better our nation.” —U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski

“Intellectually, Nancy L. Cohen convincingly makes the case for why it is essential that our democracy include women at the table, not just for representation’s sake, but for the better outcomes that come from involving all perspectives.  Emotionally, Breakthrough reignites the passion and optimism of those who have been fighting for this for so long, too long, and simultaneously inspires those who are new to this fight.” —Sandra Fluke, attorney and women’s rights activist

“A must read. Nancy L. Cohen’s insightful observations in Breakthrough highlight the importance of womens’ political leadership and the challenges all of us have faced to win.” — Wendy Greuel, former Los Angeles City Controller and Los Angeles City Council member

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