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Publisher's Summary

An intimate and insightful biography of Betty Ford, the groundbreaking, candid, and resilient first lady and wife of President Gerald Ford, from the number-one New York Times best-selling 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 cofounded 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. 

©2018 Lisa McCubbin (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Betty Ford

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What An Inspiring Woman

Before listening to this audio I really didn't know much about Betty Ford but as the book came to an end I had tears in my eyes. Powerful lesson in resilience, love and faith. She changed society, saved lives and showed what it is to be sure of who you are.

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  • WesternCOriver
  • 24-11-2018

Wonderful back story!

As an ‘88 album of the Betty Ford Center I’ve read Betty Ford’s books, and returned many times to BFC for the annual Anniversary Reunion Weekends. This lovely book provides me with a deeply moving view that I did not have of Mrs. Ford and her family that I did not have.
I was fortunate to know her personality as simply “Betty”, and her powerful role modeling made a profound difference in my recovery & life.
She kindly touched so many lives. The pebble she cast into the pond of history, by her life continues to send out ripples that gently rocks the boats of thousands of women diagnosed with breasts cancer, those with chronic pain, prescription medicine addiction, other drug addictions, and alcohol dependency.
Ironically my symbol for the many transformations in my life, for so many years has been a butterfly. What a surprise at the end of the book to find out why!
God blessed Betty, I love this book for revealing how and why.

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  • D S
  • 16-09-2018

If you don't know who Betty Ford was....You will!

I didn't know much about Betty Ford until listening to this book. I had no idea she'd done and gone through so much. Our lives are much better today because of her honesty and her bravery. Thank you for sharing these stories of a wonderful woman.

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  • lucilu
  • 29-10-2018

Read this book!

Betty Ford was an incredible and inspirational women, and Lisa McCubbin did a fantastic job of writing this!

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  • Dittohead
  • 10-08-2019

A Must Read!

Wonderfully thorough without being tedious. So, so well done. I feel like I knew Betty Ford personally! The narrator was the only low point. Sounded SO robotic. There were several times in the beginning I considered reading the book instead, but the content was so good, I soon forgot how terrible the reader sounded.

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  • Kelly Smith
  • 07-01-2019

Exceptional, I didn't want it to end

From beginning to end you can tell that both the author and narrator took great care to present this detailed and lovingly told story of American gem, Betty Ford.

I felt like I was growing up with Betty as we are taken from her toddler years straight on through to her frail elder years and eventual passing on this earth. The narrator draws you in so that you feel Betty's excitement to date Mr. Ford, her dreams to be a professional dancer,her frustration to being thrust into the political limelight, her love for Gerald Ford and her children and her great struggle to overcome physical pain, pills and alcohol.

Written with reverence, respect and love this is an exceptional biography for an exceptional woman.

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  • froggyk
  • 06-10-2020

Inspiring

I went into this with little knowledge of Betty Ford's life other than knowing she was in recovery from drug addiction, but I finished this book in love with who she was - open, honest, artistic, service-oriented. This book delved only a little into politics and the unprecedented way in which she and Gerald Ford found themselves in the White House, and instead rightly focused on how Betry adapted to all the fluctuating life events that happened along the way. She was interviewed by 60 Minutes very early in Ford's presidency, and nonchalantly noted that she expected that her kids had tried marijuana - after all, most kids do. This moment in the book spoke volumes about who Betty was - an open book in many ways. She was not ashamed of being human, and encouraged others to be open too, speaking about things formerly taboo, like her breast cancer.

Unfortunately I listened to this on Audible - I almost gave up early on because the reading was robotic - the narrator only redeemed herself when going into character, when she became vibrant and expressive. Her performance took away from what is a fabulous story.

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  • Yellowbird
  • 24-09-2020

I'd say a life well lived

The narrator is HORRIBLE! I cringed anytime she performed another voice and at other times her voice got so shaky, it was really hard to listen to. Despite the unpleasant experience with the narration I finally finished it but that being said, I wish I would have read the book myself rather than have listened to it.

This book is okay but it felt tedious at times. In many spots McCubbin over explains things as well as repeats things, this doesn’t make the book better nor does it make her point more valuable. It felt as if she was doing this so often to make her word count. McCubbin clearly thinks very highly of the Fords and that’s fine but it got to be a bit much. Another reviewer put it best; it was a little too polly-annish.

As far as who Betty Ford was, as anyone who listens to this book learns, she was a strong, honest, brave and bright woman. She changed a lot of things for a lot of people in our country and for that, many remember her fondly. She put herself out there unlike anyone had before her, she truly was a trailblazer. If I take anything away from how Betty Ford lived her life, I’d say she made the most of any situation and that's a really good way to live your life.

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  • Rob Coco
  • 22-02-2020

Great Story!

Great story! I caught myself pausing to view some of the interviews and speeches. Betty Ford was ahead of her time. My only negative was that the narrator’s voice was a little shaky, and I found myself distracted by it at first. After a while, I got over it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-04-2019

What a beautiful love story...

was wonderful to read all about Betty and her accomplishments oh, her relationship with Jerry along with her children. she was way ahead of her time

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