The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty

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The Presidential Ideas Festival was held May 21-23, 2019.

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September 06, 2019

Susan Page

Hosted by Barbara Perry

Barbara Bush was one of the country's most popular and powerful figures, yet her full story has never been told. We invite you to join journalist Susan Page, Washington bureau chief at USA Today, as she discusses her new book, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty—a biography informed by more than 100 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 conversation will be moderated by Miller Center Director of Presidential Studies Barbara Perry. The Matriarch tells the riveting tale of a woman who helped define two American presidencies and an entire political era. As a girl in Rye, New York, Barbara Bush weathered criticism of her weight from her mother, leaving lifelong scars. As a young wife, she coped with the death of her 3-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 two American presidents, she made history as the only woman to see—and advise—both her husband and son in the Oval Office.