Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer

Gallery: S. & S. Sept. 2018. 432p. notes. index. ISBN 9781501164682. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781501164743. BIOG
OrangeReviewStarThis inaugural biography of First Lady Betty Ford (1918–2011), who inspired a nation several times over, begins with Elizabeth Anne "Betty" Bloomer's early life in Grand Rapids, MI, as a dancer. After a failed marriage, Betty married Gerald Ford in 1948 in the midst of his first political campaign; he would go to serve in the House of Representatives for 25 years. The Fords lived in suburban Alexandria, VA, and raised four children. Gerald's unexpected terms as vice president (1973–74) and president (1974–77) turned the spotlight on Betty, and she became increasingly popular for her honesty and wit. Her openness about her breast cancer diagnosis led to heightened awareness of the disease and more mammograms. After Gerald lost the presidential election of 1976, the couple retired to Palm Springs, FL, where Betty's alcoholism and prescription drug abuse led to the family's intervention and her famous stint in rehab. Her lasting legacy, founding the Betty Ford Center, helped millions of people recover from addiction.
VERDICT McCubbin's engaging style brings Betty Ford vividly to life, presenting a must-read for fans of presidential biography and history.
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