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Bringing Down the Colonel

About the Book:

Bringing Down The Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the “Powerless” Woman Who Took on Washington tells the incredible, true story of how a penniless girl from Kentucky brought down one the most powerful men in Washington, Colonel William Campbell Preston Breckinridge, scion of a Bluegrass political dynasty.

Patricia Miller tells the story of Madeline Pollard, an unlikely nineteenth-century women’s rights crusader. After an affair with the prominent Breckinridge left her “ruined,” Pollard brought him—and the hypocrisy of America’s control of women’s sexuality—to trial and awakened a generation of women to demand change.

Nearly 125 years after the Breckinridge-Pollard scandal, America is still obsessed with women’s sexual morality. And in the age of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, we’ve witnessed fraught public reckonings with a type of sexual exploitation unnervingly similar to that experienced by Pollard. Using newspaper articles, personal journals, previously unpublished autobiographies, and letters, Bringing Down the Colonel tells the story of one of the earliest women to publicly fight back. (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

 Bio:

Patricia Miller is an award-winning author and journalist whose fascination with the untold stories of women led her on a 10-year journey to unearth the story of the Breckinridge–Pollard scandal. Her work on the interplay of politics and sexual morality has appeared in The Atlantic, Salon, The Nation, Huffington Post, and Ms. Magazine. She received a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband and dog.

 

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