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Whitmer book spurs president talk, joins list of Michigan political reads

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer book
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will detail her rise in Democratic politics in a memoir releasing later this summer. (Simon & Schuster courtesy).
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will release a memoir detailing her rapid rise in Democratic politics on July 9
  • The book is expected to cover stories from the campaign trail and lessons learned from events like the COVID-19 pandemic

LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will detail her rise in Democratic politics in a memoir set for release later this summer, publisher Simon & Schuster announced Friday.

The company is calling the book —  titled “True Gretch: What I’ve Learned About Life, Leadership, and Everything in Between,” — an “unconventionally honest” account of Whitmer’s political career and the time leading up to it.


Scheduled to hit bookstands on July 9, it is expected to offer a behind-the-scenes look into Whitmer’s time in office, including her time navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, publicly sparring with former President Donald Trump and becoming the focus of a thwarted kidnapping plot.


“In this moment, our world is thirsty for compassion, empathy, big ideas, and the grit to get s— done,” Whitmer said in a statement. “No matter who you are, or what you hope to achieve, I hope this book will help you find the good and use it to make a difference. I’ll be doing the same alongside you.”

News of the book comes as speculation continues over whether Whitmer will eventually run for president. It’s set for release about three weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where President Joe Biden is expected to secure the party’s nomination for a second term. 

Whitmer has previously rebuffed questions about a potential presidential run, though her second term as governor will come to an end at the close of 2026 — leaving more than enough room for a 2028 shot at the White House. 

While you wait for the release — or intentionally avoid it — here are five other Michigan political memoirs and biographies to tide you over: 

Gerald R. Ford

There are several books about Michigan’s only president, but "An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford" takes a look at Ford through a contemporary lens — and was named one of the Top 10 Best Books of 2023 by the Wall Street Journal.

Jennifer Granholm

Though currently serving as U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm cut her political teeth in Michigan — first as attorney general, then as the state’s first female governor. She details those two terms in office in the 2011 memoir, “A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future.” 

The book covers Granholm’s efforts to see Michigan through some of its most turbulent times in recent memory, as a national financial crisis walloped Michigan auto manufacturers and threatened to pull them into bankruptcy.

Stevens T. Mason

The  youngest presidential appointee in American history,  “The Boy Governor: Stevens T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics” is the story of how 19-year-old Stevens T. Mason became governor of Michigan — then known as Secretary of the Michigan Territory — before he could vote. 

This biography tells of Masons' life as he pushed for Michigan statehood and advocated for the creation of the Soo Locks, among other things. Mason is buried in Detroit and his grave was moved a few years ago when the city redid Capitol Park. Fun fact: For a few days, his body was missing!

William G. Milliken

"William G. Milliken: Michigan's Passionate Moderate,” is considered the definitive biography of Michigan's longest-serving governor, Bill Milliken, who died in 2019. The book follows Milliken throughout his life, presenting historical and political contexts to his time in office. 

In Bridge Michigan reflection, author Dave Dempsey recounted: "In the two years I spent researching and writing his biography, I came to realize that the typically sunny, earnest and reflective public persona of the governor was also the man in private. Even though the book was not always flattering, he didn’t try to change a word. He said history, not he, would make the final judgment."


Shri Thanedar 

Long before he was a congressman, Shri Thanedar lost his virginity to a hippie. That's just one of the surprisingly candid moments in Thanedar's book, which came out in 2008, a decade prior to his first political run: an unsuccessful bid for Michigan governor. 

Titled “The Blue Suitcase: Tragedy and Triumph in an Immigrant’s Life,” Thanedar details his life from growing up a poor boy growing in India to, through years of work and perseverance, buying chemical testing companies and becoming a millionaire.

As Bridge Executive Editor Joel Kurth wrote in 2018, Thanedar's book is "blunt, sometimes shocking, and at points very sad."

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