5 Books By Former First Ladies To Read While You Wait For Michelle Obama's Memoir
When Michelle Obama announced her first memoir in February, I immediately pre-ordered Becoming and started a countdown for its release. Unfortunately for me and the millions of other readers who can't wait to learn about the American icon's incredible life, the memoir doesn't hit shelves until November, but there are plenty of fascinating books by First Ladies to read while you wait.
When she released Recollections of Full Years in 1914, Helen Taft became the first First Lady to publish a memoir. Nearly three decades earlier, Julia Grant wrote her own memoirs following the death of her husband, President Ulysses S. Grant, but the former former First Lady was unable to find a publisher willing to print it. It was only in 1975, nearly 75 years after her death, that The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant was finally released.
Since then, First Ladies are expected to produce some kind of written work during or after their time in Washington. Several First Ladies, including Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, and Laura Bush, published memoirs after leaving the White House, but autobiographical writing is far from the only style these American icons have tried out. Nancy Reagan penned a book arguing on behalf of the Foster Grandparent Program, Barbara Bush was the "ghostwriter" of two books by her dogs, and Hillary Clinton is the author of the It Takes a Village picture book, among many others.
If you're counting down the days until you can get your hands on Michelle Obama's upcoming memoir, here are 5 other books by former First Ladies you can read while you wait for Becoming.
'Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy' by Jacqueline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss
In 1964, just months after her husband's shocking assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy sat down with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and recorded seven historic interviews about her experiences as the wife and First Lady to one of America's most beloved presidents. This revelatory book takes those raw and emotional interviews and presents them to readers with historical annotations that sheds a whole new light on the famous Kennedy couple. Beautifully and affecting, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy is a must-read for history buffs want to understand this famously private First Lady.
'Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis' by Rosalynn Carter, Susan K. Golant and Kathryn E. Cade
The Carters may have only been in the White House for one term, but they have become two of the most active former presidents and first ladies in history. Evidence of that is Rosalynn Carter's Within Our Reach, a captivating look at the state of mental health care in America that draws from her nearly four decades of experience as an advocate for people with mental illnesses. This is a fascinating book for anyone who wants to better understand what makes this former First Lady tick.
'Spoken from the Heart' by Laura Bush
In her celebrated memoir Spoken from the Heart, Laura Bush weaves a moving personal narrative about her life going from the oil town of Midland, Texas, to the White House in Washington, D.C.. Beautiful, honest, and deeply personal, Bush's book offers an honest look at one of the country's most beloved first ladies.
'It's Up to Women' by Eleanor Roosevelt
A journalist and a talented writer, Eleanor Roosevelt is the author of several noteworthy books, including a candid autobiography about her life in politics and beyond, and a book of advice for living a more fulfilling life. In It's Up to Women, recently republished with an introduction by historian Jill Lepore, the former first lady urges American women to take charge, not only in their own lives but in their homes, communities, and country at large. Inspiring and insightful, this timely title is a must-read for today's modern woman.
'What Happened' by Hillary Rodham Clinton
If you're looking for a raw, honest, and emotional deep-dive into the 2016 election, What Happened is the book for you. But if you want to read the bestselling memoir about her years as First Lady, Living History, Hillary Clinton's most recent title is the best bet.