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

A new book about former First Lady Betty Ford uses interviews with all four of her children to give readers a unique insight into her life as both a first lady and after.

Logan Byrnes sat down with author Lisa McCubbin to talk about the new biography, Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer.

Betty Ford 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.

Lisa McCubbin is an award-winning journalist and the author of four New York Times bestselling books. Coming September 2018, is BETTY FORD: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer, the landmark biography of one of the most admired and influential women of our time.

A graduate of Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Ms. McCubbin has been a television news anchor and reporter, hosted her own radio talk show, and spent six years in the Middle East as a freelance journalist in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Doha, Qatar.

In 2009, Gerald Blaine—a longtime family friend—asked if she would help him write a book about his time in the Secret Service. Their collaboration, The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (2010) became a New York Times bestseller and was the basis for the Emmy-nominated Discovery channel documentary, The Kennedy Detail.

While writing The Kennedy Detail, Ms. McCubbin met Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who is best known for leaping onto the back of President John F. Kennedy’s limousine as shots were fired in Dallas in 1963. Hill had retired from the U.S. Secret Service in 1975 as Assistant Director responsible for all protective forces and had vowed he “would never write a book.” Convinced by Ms. McCubbin that his stories were history, Hill finally acquiesced and together the two subsequently penned three memoirs regaling his remarkable career. Mrs. Kennedy and Me became a #1 New York Times bestseller, followed by Five Days in November and Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. In 2017, Director Michael Bay’s company Platinum Dunes acquired the film and television rights to Five Presidents. National Geographic is currently developing a television series called “The White House Detail” based on the book.

Since 2010, Lisa has been an invited guest at the annual conference of the Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service (AFAUSSS). Having met and interviewed hundreds of former and current agents, she has a deep admiration of and respect for the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect the Office of the President.

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