Boost Your Book Club with Politics, Partnerships, & Power: The Lives of Ralph E. & Marguerite Stitt Church

A gripping tale of a powerhouse couple who broke barriers and built a lasting political legacy – this is the type of book that book club discussions were made for.  Politics, Partnerships, & Power: The Lives of Ralph E. & Marguerite Stitt Church by Jay Pridmore & Christine Wolf is full of both history and intrigue. The couple were pioneers in Illinois’ ‘legislative service and instrumental in developing local initiatives that went beyond state borders – including Marguerite’s leadership in creating the Peace Corps.

This latest release from Master Wings Publishing is full of richly researched detail and expansive themes that will ring a chord with a wide variety of audiences. Here are some questions to encourage and guide a book club discussion on the title:

  1. Marguerite and her husband supported each other in their professional pursuits. How do you support your partner? Or, how have your parents or family members supported each other in their fields?
  2. Marguerite took over her husband’s congressional seat when he passed. Do you think you would be able to do the same job as your partner? Or, do you think anyone in your family could take over for another?
  3. We hear about the immigration history of Ralph and Marguerite – what is your own family’s origin story?
  4. Considering the different personalities of Ralph and Marguerite, who would you rather work with on a group project? Why?
  5. Although originally campaigning as a prominently dry candidate (in favor of prohibition) Ralph Church eventually shifted his position and accepted the 21st amendment. What’s something that your opinion on has evolved on over time? Are there any times that you have been at first in the majority and then in the minority?Or vice versa?
  6. Had you heard about Ralph E. and Marguerite Stitt Church before picking up the book? What questions did you still have when finishing it?
  7. Ralph Church was lauded for his professional attendance record – something he pursued at times at the expense of his family life. How do you manage your work/ life balance? Do you have any notable attendance records in your own past?
  8. The 1914 fire Marguerite experienced at Wellesley was described in some papers as one full of “hysterical” girls in a “wild scramble,” but further investigation reveals that it was a calm and orderly evacuation. Are there times when you have discovered the media (or a friend) reported something incorrectly? How do you verify the news you hear?
  9. What do you think of Marguerite Stitt Church’s flavor of women’s empowerment and feminism?
  10. Marguerite’s connection with college friend Soong Mei-ling, First Lady of the Republic of China, helped her throughout her life. Are there school friends that have made a huge impact on your life? Have they ever helped you professionally?
  11. Did the journey of Ralph and Marguerite inspire you? If so, how? Did it challenge you in any way?
  12. Authors Jay Pridmore and Christine Wolf both have connections to the home base of the Churches: Evanston, Illinois. Are there any underexplored local figures in your own hometown whom you would like to see a biography about?

If you are interested in ordering bulk copies of this book for your book club, please reach out via email to discuss discount opportunities. We’d love to hear your thoughts and see your book club pictures on social media!

Accolades for Partnerships, & Power: The Lives of Ralph E. & Marguerite Stitt Church

“A deeply valuable contribution…” – Melissa Blair, author of American Women: A New Narrative History

“Brimming with ‘lessons of service, heart, and advocacy.’ An engaging and instructive history.” – Kirkus Reviews



Boost Your Book Club with Politics, Partnerships, & Power: The Lives of Ralph E. & Marguerite Stitt Church