March 26, 1979 12:00 PM

by Sheila Rabb Weidenfeld

As press secretary to Betty Ford, Weidenfeld was not at the top of reporters’ popularity lists. But her book does help explain the scramble for stories and status in the capital. Weidenfeld is no mean scrambler herself, hardly understating her own role in transforming Mrs. Ford from a simple suburban housewife into a dynamic and publicity-wise First Lady. Weidenfeld also explains how Gerald Ford would still be President if he had listened to her. The book contains a lot of White House gossip (Jack Ford calling Richard Nixon “a creep,” Susan mooning over her married, pro-football-player beau). But Weidenfeld includes some compassionate glimpses of the slightly baffled Fords trying to preserve their private lives in the often unkind glare of public attention, of which this tome is an especially unkind example. (Putnam, $11.95)

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