Format:
Book
Author:
Title:
Edition:
First edition.
Publisher, Date:
New York : Twelve, 2019.
℗♭2019
Description:
viii, 418 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits (some color) ; 24 cm
Summary:
"A vivid biography of former First Lady Barbara Bush, one of the most influential and underappreciated women in American political history. Barbara Pierce Bush was one of the country's most popular and powerful figures, yet her full story has never been told. [This book] tells the riveting tale of a woman who helped define two American presidencies and an entire political era. Written by USA Today 's Washington Bureau chief Susan Pale, this biography is informed by more than one hundred interviews with Bush friends and family members, hours of conversation with Mrs. Bush herself in the final six months of her life, and access to her diaries that spanned decades. The Matriarch examines not only her public persona but also less well-known aspects of her remarkable life. As a girl in Rye, New York, Barbara Bush weathered criticism of her weight from her mother, barbs that left lifelong scars. As a young wife, she coped with the death of her three-year-old daughter from leukemia, a loss that changed her forever. In middle age, she grappled with depression so serious that she contemplated suicide. And as first the wife and then the mother of American presidents, she made history as the only woman to see--and advise--both her husband and son in the Oval Office. As with many women of her era, Barbara Bush was routinely underestimated, her contributions often neither recognized nor acknowledged. But she became an astute and trusted political campaign strategist and a beloved First Lady. She invested herself deeply in expanding literacy programs in America, played a critical role in the end of the Cold War, and led the way in demonstrating love and compassion to those with HIV/AIDS. With her cooperation, this book offers Barbara Bush's last words for history--on the evolution of her party, on the role of women, on Donald Trump, and on her family's legacy. Barbara Bush's accomplishments, struggles, and contributions are many. Now, Susan Page explores them all in ... a groundbreaking book certain to cement Barbara Bush as one of the most unique and influential women in American history."--Dust jacket.
Subjects:
Other Title:
Notes:
Includes bibliographical references (pages [353]-400) and index.
Contents:
Six brutal months -- "The fighting Pierces" -- The football star and the campus beauty -- Stuck in the middle -- Love and war -- "The street cop" -- How hard could it be? -- Darkness -- "What are we going to do about Bar?" -- The frost that never thawed -- Triumph -- First at last -- Grandma's house -- The reckoning -- D©♭tente -- The reluctant campaign -- Evicted -- First son -- A second first lady named Bush -- Dynasty -- "We've had enough Bushes" -- "Hit in the solarplex" -- Indispensable.
LCCN:
2018959120
ISBN:
9781538713648 (hardcover)
System Availability:
1
Current Holds:
0
Control Number:
207958
Call Number:
B Bush
Course Reserves:
0
# System items in:
1
Availability
Author Notes
She holds a Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary, was a campus minister at Washington University in St. Louis and at Columbia University in New York. She has been a student of Buddhism since 1976 and founded and directed the nation's first university-based human sexuality program at the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1980, she has devoted herself full time to writing about relationships and working with couples and singles. She lives in Berkeley, California. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Page, Washington correspondent for USA Today, tackles the life of former first lady Barbara Bush (1925-2018) in this new biography. While the work is not officially authorized, Page interviewed Bush many times before her death in 2018 and had access to her voluminous diaries that no other historian has seen. Page's coverage includes key moments, such as her marriage to George Bush, the death of her daughter Robin, her struggles with depression, the development of her own political consciousness, and her contentious relationship with Nancy Reagan. While the Bushes' marriage is often held up as an ideal one, Page concludes that the long-rumored affair that George Bush had with aide Jennifer Fitzgerald was likely true, even though both always denied it. The author spends considerable time analyzing Barbara Bush's personality, including her quick wit, bluntness, self-deprecation, loyalty to her husband, and strict methods for raising her children and grandchildren; all traits that captivated the public. VERDICT An engaging read full of rich behind-the-scenes details of a fascinating matriarch and public leader, including her struggles and triumphs.-Kate Stewart, Arizona Historical Soc., Tuscon © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

The recently deceased wife of President George H. W. Bush and mother of President George W. Bush exemplifies an old-school style of feminine strength and influence in this warmhearted biography. USA Today Washington bureau chief Page paints Bush, possibly the last First Lady to have had no career, as a sometimes controversial icon of postwar wifely devotion, gamely uprooting herself from her affluent New England home to a chancy new life in Texas and being a full-time (and occasionally depressed) mom to six children-her daughter's death from leukemia is a moving centerpiece of the narrative-to accommodate her husband's ambitions. But she was also a canny political animal, Page contends. She persuaded her vacillating husband to go negative with racially tinged campaign ads against Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election, and asked her son pointed questions about the invasion of Iraq; in her own right, she forcefully advocated for literacy programs and opposed discrimination against AIDS patients. There's little drama in Bush's story apart from tension between her and Nancy Reagan, and the author's assessment of her as indispensable to her husband's political rise feels overstated. But Bush admirers will enjoy Page's vivid depiction of her as an appealing, down-to-earth, sharp-tongued figure who held her own in a man's world. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Kirkus Review

A deeply admiring biography of the former first lady.Veteran journalist Page, who is currently the Washington Bureau chief of USA Today and has covered six presidential administrations, had the good fortune to conduct five interviews with Barbara Bush (1925-2018) in her final months, and, as the author notes, "her mind was sharp to the end." Also sharp was Bush's tongueso much so that even her own sons had to ask her to tone it down. Page begins with Bush's memorial service in Houston and then moves to her most wrenching experiencethe loss of her daughter, 3, to leukemia in 1953before settling into a steady chronology of her revered subject. The author notes that Barbara Pierce (not yet Bush) had a difficult relationship with her own mother, who demeaned her for her appearance. She met her future husband at a country club party shortly after Pearl Harbor, and they married a few years later. Then they moved to Texas to start their livesand successfully so. Page takes us through their campaigns, victories, losses, and disappointments. As the author notes, Bush assumed a traditional wife/homemaker/mother role while her husband made many of the decisions for the family. This choice did not endear her to feminists of the time. She would not criticize her husband (or, later, her sons) in public, though during the 1980 presidential campaign (her husband was running to be Reagan's vice president), she fell silent about her support for abortion rights, and, later, she was displeased with her son's entanglement in Iraq. The author also explains the Bushes' growing friendship with the Clintons. Opponents of Donald Trump have an ally in Barbara Bush, who disliked him long before he disparaged her son Jeb in the 2016 primaries. In a late interview, she also expressed unhappiness about the current course and priorities of the GOP.A mostly sweet biography with occasional small drops of none-too-bitter acid. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
<p>Barbara Pierce Bush was one of the country's most popular and powerful figures, yet her full story has never been told.</p> <p>THE MATRIARCH tells the riveting tale of a woman who helped define two American presidencies and an entire political era. Written by USA TODAY's Washington Bureau chief Susan Page, this biography is informed by more than one hundred interviews with Bush friends and family members, hours of conversation with Mrs. Bush herself in the final six months of her life, and access to her diaries that spanned decades. THE MATRIARCH examines not only her public persona but also less well-known aspects of her remarkable life. As a girl in Rye, New York, Barbara Bush weathered criticism of her weight from her mother, barbs that left lifelong scars. As a young wife, she coped with the death of her three-year-old daughter from leukemia, a loss that changed her forever. In middle age, she grappled with depression so serious that she contemplated suicide. And as first the wife and then the mother of American presidents, she made history as the only woman to see -- and advise -- both her husband and son in the Oval Office.</p> <p>As with many women of her era, Barbara Bush was routinely underestimated, her contributions often neither recognized nor acknowledged. But she became an astute and trusted political campaign strategist and a beloved First Lady. She invested herself deeply in expanding literacy programs in America, played a critical role in the end of the Cold War, and led the way in demonstrating love and compassion to those with HIV/AIDS. With her cooperation, this book offers Barbara Bush's last words for history -- on the evolution of her party, on the role of women, on Donald Trump, and on her family's legacy.</p> <p>Barbara Bush's accomplishments, struggles, and contributions are many. Now, Susan Page explores them all in THE MATRIARCH, a groundbreaking book certain to cement Barbara Bush as one of the most unique and influential women in American history.</p>
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