From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Five Presidents and The Kennedy Detail comes an “insightful and beautifully told look into the life of one of the most public and admired first ladies” (Publishers Weekly)—Betty Ford.
Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer is the inspiring story of an ordinary Midwestern girl thrust onto the world stage and into the White House under extraordinary circumstances. Setting a precedent as First Lady, Betty Ford refused to be silenced by her critics as she publicly championed equal rights for women, and spoke out about issues that had previously been taboo—breast cancer, depression, abortion, and sexuality. Privately, there were signs something was wrong. After a painful intervention by her family, she admitted to an addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. Her courageous decision to speak out publicly sparked a national dialogue, and in 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center, which revolutionized treatment for alcoholism and inspired the modern concept of recovery.
Lisa McCubbin also brings to light Gerald and Betty Ford’s sweeping love story: from Michigan to the White House, until their dying days, their relationship was that of a man and woman utterly devoted to one another other—a relationship built on trust, respect, and an unquantifiable chemistry.
Based on intimate interviews with her children, Susan Ford Bales and Steven Ford, as well as family, friends, and colleagues, Betty Ford is “a vivid picture of a singularly influential woman” (Bookpage).
In this meticulously researched and delightful biography, McCubbin (Mrs. Kennedy and Me) skillfully chronicles the life of former first lady Betty Ford, both in and out of the White House. Born Elizabeth Ann Bloomer in 1918, Betty the youngest of three kids and the only girl was raised largely in Grand Rapids, Mich. After performance school in Bennington, Vt., "Betty felt like she had been born to dance,' " writes McCubbin, and in 1936 she moved to New York City where she studied with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She returned home and in 1942 married William G. Warren, who worked in her father's insurance company, but divorced in 1947. The following year she met and married Gerald Ford Jr., who in 1974 became the 38th president of the U.S. In Washington, D.C., the Fords raised three sons and a daughter and after an old dance injury flared up, Betty became addicted to painkillers and alcohol. Her decision to publicly share her story, McCubbin explains, led to the 1982 opening of the Betty Ford Center in Southern California, and her openness about her diagnosis with and recovery from breast cancer allowed a generation of women to speak about a disease once viewed as shameful. McCubbin writes with great tact and sensitivity in this insightful and beautifully told look into the life of one of the most public and admired first ladies.