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The Mysterious Mrs. Nixon: The Life and Times of Washington's Most Private First Lady

About the Book

The Mysterious Mrs. Nixon: The Life and Times of Washington's Most Private First Lady

A new, revolutionary look into the brilliant life of Pat Nixon.

In America’s collective consciousness, Pat Nixon has long been perceived as enigmatic. She was voted “Most Admired Woman in the World” in 1972 and made Gallup Poll’s top 10 list of most admired women 14 times. She survived the turmoil of the Watergate scandal with her popularity and dignity intact.

The real Pat Nixon, however, bore little resemblance to the woman so often described as elusive, mysterious and “plastic” in the press. Pat married Richard Nixon in June of 1940. As the couple rose to prominence, Pat became Second Lady from 1953-1961 and then First Lady from 1969-1974, forging her own graceful path between the protocols of the strait-laced mid-century and the bra-burning '60s and '70s.

Pat was a highly travelled First Lady, visiting 83 countries during her tenure. After a devastating earthquake in Peru in 1970, she personally flew in medical supplies and food to hard-hit areas, meeting one-on-one with victims of the tragedy. The First Lady’s 1972 trips with her husband to China and to Russia were critical to the detente that resulted. Back in the US, Pat greatly expanded upon previous preservation efforts in the White House, obtaining more art and antique objects than any other First Lady.

In the domestic arena, she was progressive on women’s issues, favoring the Equal Rights Amendment and backing a targeted effort to get more women into high level government jobs. Pat strongly supported nominating a woman for the Supreme Court. She was pro-choice, supporting women’s reproductive rights publicly even before the landmark Roe v. Wade case in 1973.

When asked to define her “signature” First Lady agenda, she defied being put into a box, often saying: “People are my project.” In THE MYSTERIOUS MRS. NIXON, Heath Hardage Lee presents readers with the essential nature of this First Lady, an empathetic, adventurous self-made woman who wanted no power or influence, but who connected warmly with both ordinary Americans and people from different cultures she encountered world-wide.

The Mysterious Mrs. Nixon: The Life and Times of Washington's Most Private First Lady
by Heath Hardage Lee

  • Publication Date: August 6, 2024
  • Genres: Biography, History, Nonfiction, Politics
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250274346
  • ISBN-13: 9781250274342