American Woman Jill Biden and the Transformation of the Modern First Lady

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American Woman Jill Biden and the Transformation of the Modern First Lady by Rogers, Katie, 9780593240564
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  • ISBN: 9780593240564 | 0593240561
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2/27/2024

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The first definitive exploration of the role of the twenty-first century First Lady, painting a comprehensive portrait of Jill Biden and the evolution of the First Lady’s role from ceremonial figurehead to political operative—from a White House correspondent for The New York Times

Since the Clinton era, tectonic shifts in media, politics, and pop culture have all redefined expectations of First Ladies, even as the boundaries set upon them have at times remained frustratingly anachronistic. With sharp insights and dozens of firsthand interviews with major players in the Biden, Obama, Trump, Bush, and Clinton orbits, including Jill Biden and Hillary Clinton, New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers traces, from the dawn of the twenty-first century, the evolution of the role of First Lady into a modern power broker with the potential to deliver on behalf of the president, while also painting a full portrait of Jill Biden.

Dr. Jill Biden began her journey toward public life in 1975 as a separated twenty-three-year-old who caught the eye of a widowed Senator Joe Biden. Recovering from her own heartbreak after a failed marriage, she found a man still who was still grieving. He drew her into his close-knit family, and, in return, she knitted his life together after unspeakable tragedy, raised his children as her own, and stood by his side through three presidential campaigns. Along the way, they weathered shared tragedies of their own.

Over the past four decades, Jill Biden has nurtured her husband's ambitions and emerged as a prime guardian of one of the most insular operations in modern politics. But she has also struggled with low approval ratings, critical headlines, and a changing Washington much different from the one that she and her husband first encountered together in the late 1970s. She is a disciplined First Lady by design, mirroring her family's guarded approach to the public and the media. She is also the only First Lady in history to work outside of the White House in a paid role as a teacher, a choice that was received with a mix of acclaim and misogyny. It was a decision that will inevitably clear a path for future first spouses to keep their chosen careers.

Through deep reporting and new correspondence, American Woman is the first book to paint a comprehensive portrait of Jill Biden and grapple with the idea of what the role of a modern First Lady should be.
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