Historians generally consider James K. Polk one of the most effective presidents in United States history. Many of them doubt, however, that President Polk would have been successful without the counsel of his wife Sarah. The president dominated his cabinet and trusted no one--except for his wife. Sarah Childress Polk (1803-1891) was a highly educated woman who became President Polk's virtual secretary and more: She critiqued his speeches, evaluated his Cabinet decisions, and worked side by side with her husband. Mrs. Polk was praised for her astute views on matters of state by both Polk's supporters and his opponents. She outlived her husband by 42 years, and was often consulted by politicians who respected her opinions and trusted her instincts, including Confederate and Union officers in the Civil War. This is the story of a powerful and tireless first lady who became one of the most influential Americans of the middle and late nineteenth century.