The first definitive exploration of the changing role of the twenty-first-century First Lady, painting a comprehensive portrait of Jill Biden—from a White House correspondent for The New York Times
“A fascinating and deeply researched exploration into the most public facing and least understood role in Washington.”—Kate Andersen Brower, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Residence and First Women
Since the Clinton era, shifts in media, politics, and pop culture have all redefined expectations of First Ladies, even as the boundaries set upon them have often remained 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 the evolution of the role of the twenty-first-century First Lady from a ceremonial figurehead to a powerful political operator, which culminates in the tenure of First Lady Jill Biden.
Dr. Jill Biden began her journey toward public life in 1975 as a twenty-three-year-old who caught the eye of a widowed Senator Joe Biden. Recovering from the heartbreak of her failed first marriage, she found a man who was still grieving. She knitted his life together after unspeakable tragedy and stood by his side through three presidential campaigns.
In some ways, her legacy as First Lady was set before she ever entered the White House: She is the first presidential spouse in history to work in a paid role outside the White House, a decision that blazes the path for future first spouses. But as a prime guardian of one of the most insular operations in modern politics, she is also a central part of her husband’s presidential legacy.
Through deep reporting and newly discovered correspondence, American Woman is the first book to paint a full picture of Jill Biden while exploring how she helps answer the evolving question of what the role of the modern First Lady should be.