Bringing Down the Colonel by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel

The woman--and her illicit affair--that rocked Victorian AmericaWhen Madeline Pollard was a teenager, she began an extended affair with the Kentucky Congressman William Breckinridge, one of the most influential men in America. Breckinridge was married, and he once declared women's chastity "the cornerstone of human society." He seduced Pollard, and when his wife died, he asked for her hand. After a decade-long affair, they were to be married--but...

Details Bringing Down the Colonel

TitleBringing Down the Colonel
Release DateNov 13th, 2018
PublisherSarah Crichton Books
GenreNonfiction, History, Crime, True Crime, Feminism

Reviews Bringing Down the Colonel

  • Valerity (Val)
    Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the ‘Powerless’ Woman Who Took On WashingtonA look at things in Victorian America for women. A Kentucky lawyer and politician makes promises he won’t keep and plays fast and loose with young women while his wife is at home. When he’s finally brought up short and one files a lawsuit against him for breach of promise, he tries to brush her off, using his power and prominence to...
  • David
    There are more non-fiction narratives of bullying being published. Or so it seems to me. While reading this book, I also tore through an appalling account of present-day avarice-led bullying by lawyers and executives in Silicon Valley. This micro-history is a bullying story of the old-school, with Kentucky Congressman and revolting hypocrite William Breckinridge struggling mightily in 1894 to shut down the woman he first seduced when she was 16 (...
  • Anita Ojeda
    When Jennie Tucker heads to Washington D.C. with the promise of a lucrative position, she has no idea what her employer has in mind for her. A single woman nearing her thirties, Jennie comes from a good family that has a beautiful home, but no money to maintain it—or her. In Victorian America on the east coast, economic necessity forced more and more women to enter the work force when they failed to marry and their parents could no longer suppo...
  • Shannon A
    Patricia Miller accomplishes here a very detailed, in-depth investigation of the nineteenth-century scandal that was brought to trial and changed how America looked at women’s sexuality. Madeline Pollard was considered “ruined” by an affair with a high-ranking government official, but she fought back, and won. The trial described within these pages brought to light events and women’s rights struggles that echo those of current times and p...
  • North Landesman
    Deeply enjoyed this one. 1890s court case where a woman sues a Congressman for seducing her, promising to marry her, and then marrying another woman. Seems scandalous and fun? It is, but there is much more here. Sexual double-standards, women's rights, and even modern relevance with the me too movement.
  • Amy
    Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington is just an okay read. I give it three stars.
  • Anne Morgan
    In the era of the Me Too movement, women are looking towards history and politics and wondering: are we the first to stand up? We know women fought for the right to work, the right to vote, and we earnestly want to know not only what those women went through, but why. Why did society and politics need the push they needed, and why did it succeed sometimes but not others? What were all the unwritten currents for and against these pioneers?Patricia...
  • Carin
    Colonel Breckinridge was a powerful Congressman from Kentucky, the scion of a long legacy of Breckinridges. Madeline Pollard was a teen from a respectable family whose father had died, leaving the family to ruin. She bounced from relative to relative, learning how to claw her way to some funds, trying to get an education and further her place in life. Madeline had made an arrangement with a much older man wherein if he would pay for her college, ...
  • Gemma
    You want to read a book like this and think wow, things have changed so much in the past 100+ years. But no. It's almost depressing how familiar even the details of this story are! Could have been ripped from multiple modern headlines.Good read though. Well-researched and I liked how the author dovetailed the trial and information into a larger picture of how Madeline's story and the trial effected women and the politics of the day. And how it wa...
  • Donna
    Loved it!!! A truly fascinating book. The author did an amazing job pulling together so many interesting pieces of history about women’s issues and public perception of sex outside of marriage. It was incredible how she tied it all together as backdrop and input to the story of Madeline Pollard and Colonel Breckinridge. I especially loved her insight for their motivations and what might have been truth vs. lie.
  • Ian Tobey
    This book is very well written and has extensive amounts of research in it. From the tragic tale of Maria Halpin to Madeline Pollard’s fight against a society filled with double standards, this book was captivating from start to finish. There are also lots of parallels to today’s society as well. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading!
  • Magda
    Fascinating and unfortunately still relevant
  • Kendra
    I really enjoyed this journalistic account of how Madeline Pollard, the mistress of a Kentucky bigshot, successfully sued him for breach of contract when he refused to marry her--having repeatedly promised to do so--after the death of his wife. Miller gets into the social and sexual politics and mores of the time, the roles and activities of women, and how Pollard's suit exposed and challenged the double standard women face. Appropriate reading f...
  • Kimball
    BRINGING DOWN THE COLONEL is a nonfiction account of Madeline Pollard’s lawsuit against Colonel W.C.P. Breckinridge for abandonment (he had a shotgun marriage with another woman while engaged to Pollard) in 1893. Sadly, DC didn’t have seduction laws, which many other states had at the time. Pollard’s aim is to make Breckinridge have his share of the blame, shame and consequences. This lively account explores a ten year affair that Pollard b...
  • Maudaevee
    Very well written, I am not one to read much political history but this book did a good job of explaining the politics and moral stances of the time.