Marlene Wagman-Gellar’s new book,Behind Every Great Man: Forgotten Women Behind the Worlds Famous and Infamous is possibly the most depressing book I’ve ever read. It is also one of the most important. From Alfred Hitchcock to Adolf Hitler, Samuel Beckett to Jim Henson, the book is a horrifying look at the marriages of some of the men we as a culture admire most.
More than one man in this book was a surprise to me. Jim Henson’s behavior towards his loyal wife, and the mother of his five children, was painfully shocking. Several times while reading, I had to set the book down and walk away just to catch my breath and calm my anger. However, not all of the stories are lurid descriptions of betrayals. Amidst a sea of horrifying tales, we do get the occasional bright spot. Jackie Robinson was not a terrible husband and his wife continued to carry his memory on. Gerald Ford was a loving man, and his wife Betty ended up being incredibly influential in the field of drug and alcohol recovery with her Betty Ford Center.
Behind Every Great Man takes the blindfold off the eyes of the reader by force and informs them that not every “Great Man” was a great person to their wives.
Behind Every Great Man: Forgotten Women Behind the Worlds Famous and Infamous is available March 1, 2015 from Sourcebooks.