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

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An intimate and insightful biography of Betty Ford, the groundbreaking, candid, and resilient First Lady and wife of President Gerald Ford, from the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Presidents and Mrs. Kennedy and Me. Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer is the inspiring story of an ordinary Midwestern girl thrust onto the world stag An intimate and insightful biography of Betty Ford, the groundbreaking, candid, and resilient First Lady and wife of President Gerald Ford, from the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Presidents and Mrs. Kennedy and Me. 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 in-depth interviews with all four of her children, Susan Ford Bales, Michael Ford, Jack Ford, and Steven Ford, as well as family friends, and colleagues, Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer is a deeply personal, empathic portrait of an outspoken First Lady, who was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother. With poignant details and rare insight, McCubbin reveals a fiercely independent woman who had a lively sense of humor, unwavering faith, and an indomitable spirit—the true story behind one of the most admired and influential women of our time.


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An intimate and insightful biography of Betty Ford, the groundbreaking, candid, and resilient First Lady and wife of President Gerald Ford, from the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Presidents and Mrs. Kennedy and Me. Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer is the inspiring story of an ordinary Midwestern girl thrust onto the world stag An intimate and insightful biography of Betty Ford, the groundbreaking, candid, and resilient First Lady and wife of President Gerald Ford, from the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Presidents and Mrs. Kennedy and Me. 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 in-depth interviews with all four of her children, Susan Ford Bales, Michael Ford, Jack Ford, and Steven Ford, as well as family friends, and colleagues, Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer is a deeply personal, empathic portrait of an outspoken First Lady, who was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother. With poignant details and rare insight, McCubbin reveals a fiercely independent woman who had a lively sense of humor, unwavering faith, and an indomitable spirit—the true story behind one of the most admired and influential women of our time.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer was a meticulously researched and a delightfully told biography of one of my favorite first ladies. Being from Colorado, we first saw the Ford family come to Vail when Gerald Ford was Vice President. After the resignation of Richard Nixon, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, Ford became President of the United States, and continued to spend Christmas holidays in Vail skiing, placing this alpine village on the map. As an aside Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer was a meticulously researched and a delightfully told biography of one of my favorite first ladies. Being from Colorado, we first saw the Ford family come to Vail when Gerald Ford was Vice President. After the resignation of Richard Nixon, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, Ford became President of the United States, and continued to spend Christmas holidays in Vail skiing, placing this alpine village on the map. As an aside, I must say that when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, I was with the new president as he declared that our national nightmare was over. Betty Ford first endeared herself, not only to me, but the nation, when she moved into the White House announcing that she would not have a separate bedroom, soon followed by the announcement that she had breast cancer. Her honesty in dealing with such a devastating diagnosis opened doors for women. Betty Ford was also an unabashed feminist as she proudly wore her Equal Rights Amendment button in 1975 as women were still struggling for equal rights. She later led the honest examination of the problem of drug and alcohol addiction as she bravely went into rehabilitation after a painful but loving intervention by her family. In their retirement years, the Fords spent much of their time in Colorado and were embraced and loved by all of us. I have many fond memories of the lighting of the Christmas Tree in downtown Vail, or a lovely summer evening at Bravo Vail when the Fords joined us in the rapture of a symphony in the beautiful outdoor venue of the Gerald Ford Amphitheater followed by a walk in the beautiful and iconic Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. This was a beautiful family; in leaving the White House, as Betty Ford is walking away with the White House photographer, she confesses that she always wanted to dance on the Cabinet Room table; an iconic photograph. "Nestled at the base of the majestic snow-drenched mountains was the charming village of Vail. It was just a few blocks long at that time, and it looked like someone had taken a little town from Austria or Switzerland and plopped it right in the middle of Colorado." "It was not a long address, but for years to come, the passage that all would remember was when he declared, 'My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    What an absolutely lovely biography. I went into this almost completely blind and was pleasantly surprised. Betty Ford was a strong, unique woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind, especially about women's issues/rights, mental health, sex, and addiction. In the mid 1970s mind you. She was also one of the first First Lady's to openly sleep in the same bedroom as her husband, which was news to me. Random Observation: Two weeks ago I first heard about the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole What an absolutely lovely biography. I went into this almost completely blind and was pleasantly surprised. Betty Ford was a strong, unique woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind, especially about women's issues/rights, mental health, sex, and addiction. In the mid 1970s mind you. She was also one of the first First Lady's to openly sleep in the same bedroom as her husband, which was news to me. Random Observation: Two weeks ago I first heard about the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" in an impossible game of charades. I had to laugh when it popped up in this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    TL

    What a Lady. What a life. *listened to with Overdrive app *

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    What a great read. Loved reading about Betty Ford and her background. Touching and super interesting. Made me love and respect the Fords. Nice book. Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joseph J.

    Other reviews from persons who heard of but knew little of Betty Ford make me feel ancient. In 1987 I stood in a line (Crown Books in D.C.) to have that lovely lady sign her memoir for life long Democrat me. Though I own that account of her triumph over addiction and her earlier First Lady memoir, I enjoyed this new book very much. It combines material from Mrs. Ford's own accounts with a number of new interviews with those who knew her, and the introduction is penned by her daughter Susan. For Other reviews from persons who heard of but knew little of Betty Ford make me feel ancient. In 1987 I stood in a line (Crown Books in D.C.) to have that lovely lady sign her memoir for life long Democrat me. Though I own that account of her triumph over addiction and her earlier First Lady memoir, I enjoyed this new book very much. It combines material from Mrs. Ford's own accounts with a number of new interviews with those who knew her, and the introduction is penned by her daughter Susan. For anyone who lived through Watergate and the Ford's coming to the White House, Mrs. Ford's candor and honesty about her breast cancer diagnosis and surgery dramatically set the tone for a new era in discussion of women's health. I recall talking with college friends following her Morley Safer interview and her modern and to many shocking views on pre-marital sex. (Her reaction years later to daughter Susan's plan to move in with a boyfriend is eye-opening.) Honesty about her health and moral/cultural issues merely previewed her courage and forthrightness in confronting drug and alcohol addiction. Through these upheavals Betty Ford remained an example of beauty and class. This is the story of a girl from the Midwest who dreams big, goes to New York to dance with Martha Graham, and, returning home marries a man as many did in those years after World War II. But that man became a Congressman and, in incredible circumstance, Vice President and President. We received much more from his First Lady than anyone could have imagined. Truly, as historian Richard Norton Smith observed in her eulogy, the history of women's health in this country may be divided Before Betty and After Betty.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Suzan

    A lovely biography and an interesting refresher on historical events, like Watergate and how Gerald Ford became Vice President and then President of the United States. I remember Betty Ford being a breast cancer survivor but I did not realize that the way she was so open and candid about it was groundbreaking at that time. “...in 1974, a breast cancer diagnosis was akin to a death sentence.” People didn’t speak about it openly, until Betty Ford. After going public with her diagnosis and mastecto A lovely biography and an interesting refresher on historical events, like Watergate and how Gerald Ford became Vice President and then President of the United States. I remember Betty Ford being a breast cancer survivor but I did not realize that the way she was so open and candid about it was groundbreaking at that time. “...in 1974, a breast cancer diagnosis was akin to a death sentence.” People didn’t speak about it openly, until Betty Ford. After going public with her diagnosis and mastectomy, “What happened next was remarkable. Across the country, the phone lines at doctors offices and organizations such as the American Cancer Society were inundated with calls from women-thousands upon thousands of women-looking to make appointments for breast exams... Literally overnight, Betty Ford removed the stigma from breast cancer. No longer was it a source of shame, but a disease like any other that needed to be addressed and treated.” She also did wonders to help take away the shame and stigma of alcoholism and drug addiction. I think what I loved the most about this book was learning more about the deep love and dedication that Betty and Gerald Ford had for one another. After he died, she slept with the flag that had been draped over his casket, on the pillow beside her until her death 5 years later. “ I just want to go see my boyfriend, “she’d say. “That’s all I want to do.” She was a remarkable woman.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

    Going into this book I knew almost nothing about former first lady Betty Ford. I mostly had heard about the Betty Ford Clinic. That in itself is kind of sad. As with almost all addicts, they are far more than just the addiction. Second, I went to school when they taught history and in college I took a women in history class. She was little more than a footnote as Ford’s wife. She was a strong woman with her own opinion and she was unapologetic when giving them. Brutally honest! Always classy. Ne Going into this book I knew almost nothing about former first lady Betty Ford. I mostly had heard about the Betty Ford Clinic. That in itself is kind of sad. As with almost all addicts, they are far more than just the addiction. Second, I went to school when they taught history and in college I took a women in history class. She was little more than a footnote as Ford’s wife. She was a strong woman with her own opinion and she was unapologetic when giving them. Brutally honest! Always classy. Never would had made in today PC culture. A quick Google search will tell you most of what is written in this biography is true although I did feel the book was slanted in Betty’s favor. It seems like it left out a few thing and added some fancy bows to dress up the less attractive character points. Still well worth the read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Allen

    Lisa McCubbin wrote a beautifully touching book about one of the most modern and influential First Ladies that this nation has ever had. Growing up in the early 80's, I did not know Beatty Ford and this book brilliantly educated me on why she was so beloved and important to our nation... and especially to us women. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lisa McCubbin wrote a beautifully touching book about one of the most modern and influential First Ladies that this nation has ever had. Growing up in the early 80's, I did not know Beatty Ford and this book brilliantly educated me on why she was so beloved and important to our nation... and especially to us women. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sidney

    Wow. It has been a while since I have read a book this good. Betty Ford was an incredible and inspirational woman. In addition, Lisa McCubbin did a fantastic job writing this! I wish more biographies were written this well. Fantastic book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Freiburger

    Living in East Grand Rapids the past 25 years I have of course heard countless stories about the Ford family. Betty grew up on Fountain which is right down the road, was married and funeral services at Grace Church where I taught Y5’s. (The “Bride Room” seems like it hasn’t been touched since she used it.) The author never met her subject and in parts this was clear. The chapters were choppy. Also, I didn’t like the butterfly reference at the end. I should have just read Betty’s memoir.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    “Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer” by Lisa McCubbin provides an intimate look at one of America’s most beloved First Ladies. Complex and independent, Betty was a dancer before marriage, divorcee, a woman when asked about sex with her husband, the President, said she enjoyed it as often as possible. A vocal ERA supporter even when her husband was not. A breast cancer survivor and advocate. An alcoholic/prescription drug addict who entered recovery reluctantly but ul “Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer” by Lisa McCubbin provides an intimate look at one of America’s most beloved First Ladies. Complex and independent, Betty was a dancer before marriage, divorcee, a woman when asked about sex with her husband, the President, said she enjoyed it as often as possible. A vocal ERA supporter even when her husband was not. A breast cancer survivor and advocate. An alcoholic/prescription drug addict who entered recovery reluctantly but ultimately made admitting one’s addiction publicly acceptable, and founded the Betty Ford Clinic that helped thousands achieve sobriety. I highly recommend this compelling bio that captures Betty Ford’s great spirit and heart. 5/5 Pub Date 11 Sep 2018 Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinins are fully mine. #BettyFord #NetGalley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Betty Ford was always someone I admired but I really didn't know much about her. I knew she had started the Betty Ford Center and was the wife of someone I admired, Jerry Ford. Having lived in Grand Rapids as a child in the early 70's I had a fondness for the Fords. This book intrigued me, especially the title: "Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer." I had to know more about this lady! Now that I have read this warm, lovely biography, my admiration for Betty Ford has m Betty Ford was always someone I admired but I really didn't know much about her. I knew she had started the Betty Ford Center and was the wife of someone I admired, Jerry Ford. Having lived in Grand Rapids as a child in the early 70's I had a fondness for the Fords. This book intrigued me, especially the title: "Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer." I had to know more about this lady! Now that I have read this warm, lovely biography, my admiration for Betty Ford has multiplied many times. I just can't say enough about how her life exemplifies honesty, courage, independence, love, honor, etc. I needed to read this book, right now. You do too!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    Betty Ford was so much more than a First Lady, as she was actively involved in women's rights, substance abuse, and breast cancer work. The famous Betty Ford clinics were co-founded by Betty Ford after she bravely came forward with her own substance abuse issues. The author spoke to all of Betty's children when writing this well researched biography. Betty Ford was so much more than a First Lady, as she was actively involved in women's rights, substance abuse, and breast cancer work. The famous Betty Ford clinics were co-founded by Betty Ford after she bravely came forward with her own substance abuse issues. The author spoke to all of Betty's children when writing this well researched biography.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leah K

    I went into this not knowing much about Betty Ford and it was worth learning about her. She was an amazing lady. She did awesome things. She is now a hero of mine. And her marriage with Gerald? Can you say relationship goals? This is a well written, readable biography of the former first lady. The research is definitely done. Worth the read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    4/5⭐️—I loved it! Lisa McCubbin has a way of making history come alive and her storytelling is fantastic. I knew very little about Betty Ford prior to this book, but now she is one of my favorite First Ladies.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hagedorn

    I loved Betty Ford...her honesty, her willingness to open herself to trials and addictions she faced. Her love for her husband and her faith were a central part of her life.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    I think the author fell in love with the Fords. I fully acknowledge they were great people but things came off a bit too Pollyanna-ish for me. Still very informative.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    2.5? It was ok. I learned some things, but the tone overall was not at all objective (which I am ok with if it's justified, but this was presented as a straightforward biography). I do find both Betty Ford and the office of First Lady fascinating - it's still a political office, but one without nearly as much power or choice, and it's always interesting to see how people react. And I like Ford much more than most, although if I were searching for faults or nuanced discussion, this was not the ri 2.5? It was ok. I learned some things, but the tone overall was not at all objective (which I am ok with if it's justified, but this was presented as a straightforward biography). I do find both Betty Ford and the office of First Lady fascinating - it's still a political office, but one without nearly as much power or choice, and it's always interesting to see how people react. And I like Ford much more than most, although if I were searching for faults or nuanced discussion, this was not the right work.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janel

    I love a good biography and Lisa McCubbin did not disappoint. I knew the general facts of Betty Ford’s life and the public obstacles she faced. However, I did not know the details and the impact on her family. I had a favorable opinion of Mrs Ford before reading this book and now I have such admiration for her and her family. Especially, how they turned these challenges into ways to positively impact others. I recommend this book. I’ve enjoyed all McCubbin’s books so it was no surprise that this I love a good biography and Lisa McCubbin did not disappoint. I knew the general facts of Betty Ford’s life and the public obstacles she faced. However, I did not know the details and the impact on her family. I had a favorable opinion of Mrs Ford before reading this book and now I have such admiration for her and her family. Especially, how they turned these challenges into ways to positively impact others. I recommend this book. I’ve enjoyed all McCubbin’s books so it was no surprise that this was a highly readable and enjoyable book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Wellum

    Superb writing. Remarkable life. Inspiring lady.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    Wow, what a great book... totally surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Betty Ford was a strong, amazing woman. I'm inspired by her life and this book helped me see how much the words and actions of a single person can impact many. Wow, what a great book... totally surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Betty Ford was a strong, amazing woman. I'm inspired by her life and this book helped me see how much the words and actions of a single person can impact many.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for writing a review. I love reading about first ladies, and I remember Betty Ford's tenure when I was in elementary school. While I was somewhat familiar with her accomplishments, this biography goes into detail. She was an amazing woman. I had forgotten she started out as a dancer! McCubbin shares Ford's trailblazing work on women's rights, breast cancer and substance abuse. What's so admirable about Ford is that she met her person I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for writing a review. I love reading about first ladies, and I remember Betty Ford's tenure when I was in elementary school. While I was somewhat familiar with her accomplishments, this biography goes into detail. She was an amazing woman. I had forgotten she started out as a dancer! McCubbin shares Ford's trailblazing work on women's rights, breast cancer and substance abuse. What's so admirable about Ford is that she met her personal pain and struggles head on and used those experiences to help others. No matter your politics, you come away from this book with deep admiration for the former first lady.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Porter Broyles

    This was my first biography of a First Lady, it will NOT be my last. This book was immensely enjoyable and informative. It was also kind of inspiring. Betty Ford was a phenomenal woman who supported her husband’s political career---an ambition she did not know he had until he announced he was running for office! While the book was interesting from the get go, Betty Ford become a force to be reckoned with after Gerald became President. Less than 2 months after her husband became president, Betty For This was my first biography of a First Lady, it will NOT be my last. This book was immensely enjoyable and informative. It was also kind of inspiring. Betty Ford was a phenomenal woman who supported her husband’s political career---an ambition she did not know he had until he announced he was running for office! While the book was interesting from the get go, Betty Ford become a force to be reckoned with after Gerald became President. Less than 2 months after her husband became president, Betty Ford went to the doctor for a routine health exam. During that exam the doctors discovered that she had breast cancer. In 1974, breast cancer was often a fatal disease and one that people did not discuss openly. The Ford’s, however, had made a commitment to be open with the American Public (they knew their presidency was tainted with Nixon’s secrecy and deceitfulness). A few days later, she had surgery wherein the doctors removed one of her breast. Instead of hiding, she used her experience to educate the public on the importance of breast exams. Virtually overnight the public perception of the disease turned around and routine exams started saving millions of lives. A week after her surgery, she was walking with her husband and a number of aids in the hospital. President Ford gave her a football signed by the Washington Redskins; she threw the ball to her husband. This moment was caught on film. The joy on her face (and those around her) showed that her losing a breast had not defeated her. The photo became iconic among breast cancer survivors and advocates. When the Susan G Komen foundation began, the first recipient of their award was Betty Ford and it was named after her because of her role in the fight against Breast Cancer. After leaving the White House, her family confronted her about her addiction. She had become addicted pain medicine and alcohol. Again, even though they were no longer in office, they were open about her entering rehab. Reluctantly Betty Ford allowed her experience in rehab to be included in her biography “The Times of My Life.” After being interviewed by Larry King about her addiction, hospitals and rehab centers reported an increase in calls from people seeking help. After helping a friend face his addiction, the two of them set about to open a world-class rehab facility---the Betty Ford Clinic. Her involvement in bringing the alcohol/addiction and treatment to the forefront of Americans earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the second First Lady so honored). While those are two of the more prominent incidents covered in the book, they are not the only ones. Betty was a vocal supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, pro-choice movement, and CB enthusiast (First Mama was her CB Handle). She was the first First Lady to make a cameo on sit-com (look up her bit on the Mary Tyler Moore show, it is hilarious). She went out of her way to acknowledge and recognize those who worked for her. She was a class act. As I listened to the audiobook, I did not have the photo section of the book---but I did more google searches while listening to this book than I usually do. A photo would be described or discussed and I had to look it up. An interview would be mentioned and I had to watch it. This book was an absolute delight to listen to.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Josephine

    Being from the same hometown, I thought I knew a lot about Betty Ford. I had barely scratched the surface of the depth that Lisa McCubbin has gone to in this beautifully written biography of one of my favorite First Ladies. I love that the stories were told so well and that as I read them—whether it was her dancing, her campaigning, her breast cancer diagnosis or her time in rehab, I felt as if I was transported back to each of those moments in history. Highly recommend this book, but also recom Being from the same hometown, I thought I knew a lot about Betty Ford. I had barely scratched the surface of the depth that Lisa McCubbin has gone to in this beautifully written biography of one of my favorite First Ladies. I love that the stories were told so well and that as I read them—whether it was her dancing, her campaigning, her breast cancer diagnosis or her time in rehab, I felt as if I was transported back to each of those moments in history. Highly recommend this book, but also recommend having some Kleenex nearby!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This biography is an excellent and inspiring portrait of Betty Ford. What an interesting peek into her life, her husband's life, the White House, being First Lady, breast cancer (and what a long way treatment has come) and addiction (and again what a long way treatment has come). I love Betty's spirit and outspokenness and have a great admiration for her after reading (listening to) this book. The audiobook narration took a little getting used to -- almost like the narrator's voice/speed had bee This biography is an excellent and inspiring portrait of Betty Ford. What an interesting peek into her life, her husband's life, the White House, being First Lady, breast cancer (and what a long way treatment has come) and addiction (and again what a long way treatment has come). I love Betty's spirit and outspokenness and have a great admiration for her after reading (listening to) this book. The audiobook narration took a little getting used to -- almost like the narrator's voice/speed had been manipulated a bit? But still well done.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Randi

    Betty Ford has been my favorite first lady for many years and this book only confirmed why I love her so. Never has there been a first lady who showed such vulnerability and compassion. I have so many people I love who struggle with addiction and I love what she did to remove the stigma it often brings. Big heart eyes for this book. Kudos if you can make it through the forward written by her daughter without bawling your eyes out <3

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kottke

    A superb and revelatory biography of a First Lady who broke the mold before, during, and after her time in the White House. It has the intimacy of a biography written by an author with first-hand access to the subject, which is a testament both to McCubbin's talents and the public candor of Betty Ford. I met Gerald Ford once; after reading this, I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Betty. A superb and revelatory biography of a First Lady who broke the mold before, during, and after her time in the White House. It has the intimacy of a biography written by an author with first-hand access to the subject, which is a testament both to McCubbin's talents and the public candor of Betty Ford. I met Gerald Ford once; after reading this, I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Betty.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    Lisa McCubbin’s new book tells the unique story of a remarkable American woman, Betty Bloomer Ford. She was a former dancer, model and recent divorcee when she met fellow Michigander Gerald Ford. After dating Betty for six months, Jerry offhandedly proposed by saying, “I’d like to marry you.” The proposal came with a caveat: “We can’t get married until next fall, and I can’t tell you why.” Betty quickly accepted. Two months later, Jerry confessed that he was going to run for Congress. At the tim Lisa McCubbin’s new book tells the unique story of a remarkable American woman, Betty Bloomer Ford. She was a former dancer, model and recent divorcee when she met fellow Michigander Gerald Ford. After dating Betty for six months, Jerry offhandedly proposed by saying, “I’d like to marry you.” The proposal came with a caveat: “We can’t get married until next fall, and I can’t tell you why.” Betty quickly accepted. Two months later, Jerry confessed that he was going to run for Congress. At the time, she did not appreciate the significance of his ambition, but if this was what he truly wanted to do, then she was all in. Two weeks after their October 1948 wedding, Jerry won a seat in Congress. And as they say, “The rest is history.” Those next years were very busy ones. Four young children and the social obligations of a Congressman’s wife kept Betty on the go, and she was fortunate to have a housekeeper named Clara who became like a second mother to the kids. And as Jerry’s success in Washington grew, he spent a great deal of time traveling. All Betty ever really wanted was to be with Jerry and their children, and to return to Michigan to raise their family. This was not happening. In 1964, Betty experienced a pinched nerve in her neck that caused excruciating pain. Only strong medications would relieve the pain, and all too easily she became addicted. Add the evening cocktails, and a recipe for disaster was in the making. Jerry’s career continued to thrive, and eventually he became vice president to Richard Nixon. Then came Watergate. Nixon resigned in disgrace, and Jerry became president, something he never imagined or wanted. When he took the oath of office, Betty would say years later that it was the saddest day of her life. Betty’s personal life continued to spiral out of control, which eventually led to her being admitted to a rehabilitation facility for treatment of both drug addiction and alcoholism. Ultimately, Betty and a friend and neighbor, Leonard Firestone, who was also a recovering alcoholic, went on to create a rehabilitation facility in California that is world-renowned. She had the name recognition and Leonard had the finances and connections to make this huge undertaking a reality. It opened in 1982. And even now, when the anchorperson mentions on the evening news that such and such celebrity “had been admitted to Betty Ford,” it is immediately understood what that means. In addition to shedding a bright light on the problems of addiction and alcoholism, Betty is linked to breast cancer awareness and finding a cure. It seems that for every devastating medical problem that Betty suffered, she was able to raise public awareness. It would be impossible to evaluate how much progress has been made regarding these diseases because of her willingness to be so frank about her struggles. Betty was often criticized for being outspoken about then-socially taboo subjects, such as premarital sex and abortion, and she campaigned for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. But above all, this candid woman will be best remembered for being a champion of honesty and courage. Like Eleanor Roosevelt before her, Betty Ford shattered --- hopefully once and for all --- the stereotype of what a First Lady should be. Reviewed by Carole Turner

  29. 4 out of 5

    Holly Hatfield

    Fantastic read! I’ve read a lot about First Ladies and I had no idea Betty Ford was such a trailblazer who was ahead of her time. She was genuinely forthright and honest with a killer sense of humor. Not many gals back in the 1940s went to NYC to fulfill her career dancing dreams and lived with her girlfriends. I cracked up at Betty’s explanation of her first marriage with the chapter titled “The Five Year Misunderstanding.” - - I just felt as I read about her that we would have been dear friend Fantastic read! I’ve read a lot about First Ladies and I had no idea Betty Ford was such a trailblazer who was ahead of her time. She was genuinely forthright and honest with a killer sense of humor. Not many gals back in the 1940s went to NYC to fulfill her career dancing dreams and lived with her girlfriends. I cracked up at Betty’s explanation of her first marriage with the chapter titled “The Five Year Misunderstanding.” - - I just felt as I read about her that we would have been dear friends and had lots of laughs. I was a bit taken back at her husband’s narcissistic ways in terms of his mistress - his job...and how he laid most of the parental responsibilities on Betty. However, she seemed to take it in stride most of time. I’m quite sure this was a contributing factor in her slow creep toward her addictions. - - Even after they left the White House Jerry Ford was gone 80% of the time. Her openness when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her subsequent mastectomy led many women to open discuss their breast cancer and led many others to get routine breast exams. - - - Her candidness about her views supporting legal abortions, living together before marriage, etc. was such a breath of fresh air to many people’s ears. Her family’s painful 1978 intervention with Betty over her drug and alcohol abuse was a watershed moment in the Ford family. Once again, Betty was upfront with the public and eventually overcame her denials and realized her disease was not her fault and her addiction struggles were no different than her other inpatient cohorts at the treatment facility. Regardless if she was a former First Lady, she had to work the program like everyone else to stay sober.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robert Scott

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What a fantastic biography about a very unique person. Self conscious because she did not have a college degree, she gave her all to her husband & family. After many years in congress they find themselves in a totally unexpected situation. First vice president and then President. In those years Betty had fallen and messed up her spinal column which led to pain pills. Her dream had been to be a professional dancer but circumstances made sure that did not happen, but she always maintained a dancer What a fantastic biography about a very unique person. Self conscious because she did not have a college degree, she gave her all to her husband & family. After many years in congress they find themselves in a totally unexpected situation. First vice president and then President. In those years Betty had fallen and messed up her spinal column which led to pain pills. Her dream had been to be a professional dancer but circumstances made sure that did not happen, but she always maintained a dancers grace of movement. After the narrow defeat in the race to be elected President, they retired to Palm Springs, CA. Jerry was often away from home on speaking and/or political engagements and Betty fell into a dangerous cycle of not getting dressed, staying late in bed, and self medication, often with an alcoholic chaser. After a critical family intervention she was admitted to the Navy rehab unit in a Naval Hospital. Treated just like all the other patients and subjected to military discipline, she turned her life around in less than 2 month, but had at least 2 years before her body would be 100% cleansed of her addictions. A neighbor who went through the same process proposed that they open their on rehab center. This is a story of courage, determination and love. The pictures are delightful.

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