Nancy Davis Reagan has led an extraordinary life; it has also been an extraordinarily private one. Now Mike Deaver, whose relationship with Mrs. Reagan dates back to the 1960s, shares the side of Nancy that only her intimates know.
The woman portrayed in Nancy is far more complicated than the stereotype. No cardboard cutout, she is pure flesh and blood, a woman of immense will and fortitude. And in the Reagans' fifty-year marriage, Ron always received top billing. She is convinced that her husband was one of the great men of the twentieth century: a rare world leader who changed the tide of history. Nancy has been no bit player in the story. Deaver believes that Reagan would not have risen to such distinction without Nancy at his side.
Reluctantly drawn into politics, Nancy gradually embraced her role. To the president, Nancy Reagan would bring discipline. She would ask the tough questions. When his image might be tainted, she would fervently guard it, even at the expense of her own.
To Ronald Reagan the man, who always had trouble expressing intimacy, Nancy gave the gift of her unrestricted love. Now to a man no longer capable of looking after himself, Nancy is everything there is left to be: caretaker, guardian, nurturer of the Reagan legacy.
©2003 Michael Deaver; © and (P)2003 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.
"More than anything, [this book] is deeply personal, a moving tribute....[Deaver's] poignant writing portrays a determined and courageous woman who throughout her life has been motivated by one thing: love. Politics was just noise in the background." (Publishers Weekly)
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Michael Deaver is a long time Reagan staffer and he was the liaison between the Reagan staff and Nancy Reagan. Deaver states that Nancy Reagan had only one goal in life that was to support and protect Ronald Reagan. Deaver says her life was always about Ronnie.
The first part of the book covers her early life. She was born Anne Frances Robbins July 6 1921. Her nickname was Nancy. Nancy’s mother was the famous stage actress Edith Luckett (1880-1987) she did not know her father. In 1929 her mother married neurosurgeon Loyal Davis (1896-1982). They lived in Chicago and Nancy legally changed her name to Davis. Nancy graduated from Smith Collage in 1943: she majored in English and drama. As an actress she appeared on Broadway and later was contracted for film with MGM. She was in many films and retired from acting in 1962. She married Reagan in 1952 and had two children Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott Reagan.
Deaver covers the time from Governor to President mostly from Nancy viewpoint. He shows how she went from a reluctant and hesitate speaker into a polished speaker. The author reveals Nancy as a reluctant politician’s wife but he shows how she applied herself to learn the job. Deaver says she was a direct, impatient person and as such some people felt she was intimidating.
The last part of the book covers their life living with Alzheimer disease and the toll it took on them. This is not a comprehensive biography of Nancy Reagan nor is there any pushing of a political agenda. It is primarily a personal and moving tribute to Nancy Reagan by a person who worked with her daily over more than 35 years. The book provides a look into the life of Nancy Reagan and what she thought was most important in her life. I enjoyed learning about Nancy's life as first lady. The author narrated the book.
Although the author is admittedly biased in his opinions, this is a compelling story about a strong-willed woman and her husband who is in the public eye. No matter what your feelings are about the couple, if you put that aside the story of two people caught up in this sometimes bizarre life is interesting.
The part about their struggles with his declining years will touch many people who have gone through this. If you listen for this part only, it is valuable to help you understand this horrible disease and how it affects the victims and their families.
This was a far better listen than I had expected. I was touched by many parts.
Michael Deaver takes us to the heart and soul of Nancy Reagan. He takes us back to the beginning when she met her "Ronnie" to facing his cruel fate of Alzheimer's, learning all the way about how she possibly felt, looked and handled or didn't handle events and situations. But all the while serving as grand protector of her "Ronnie".
If your looking for a down to earth approach to learning about the woman behind the man then this is the book for you.
Joshua B. Miller
What made this listening experience the most enjoyable was hearing a realistic and positive account of a topic that I have a strong interest in: An American First Lady. Hearing the voice of the late Mike Deaver, the author, and man who knew Nancy Reagan best, recount his relationship with her made it even more special. Mike had a voice that was natural for narration, and he didn't hold back in his emotion through certain passages.
Mike's story begins with having been appointed to Assistant Chief of Staff to newly inaugurated California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967. Deaver had an apprehension of the new First Lady, Nancy Reagan, only having heard the worst about her from campaign staffers. Receiving a phone call a from her early in the term during the first months of Reagan's new term, asking if she could get Governor Reagan to get away with her for a short week-long vacation, Deaver simply told her that it was probably a bad idea to take the Governor away that early in the administration, and that it might just look bad for him. Mrs. Reagan simply agreed, saying she hadn't realized that. Deaver realized that she was simply a straightforward woman and that was the best way to deal with her.I found the way Mike found to best describe Ronnie's love of his own 688-acre Santa Barbara County, California ranch, Rancho del Cielo, by quoting: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.", to be simple and powerful. This passage is verse 1 of Psalm 121 in the Old Testament of the Bible. I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Lakewood, Colorado, where I have spectacular views of big "hills." Since hearing Mike's words regarding Reagan's adoration of his ranch, I have adopted this verse as an inspirational devotion and reminder of God's strength, which he supplies me with at times when I don't have any- which is all the time. If a book gives you hope and inspiration like this as a by product, then it is something special. For me, "Nancy" is such a book.
My favorite scene was when Mike was able to comfort Nancy upon her arrival the Emergency Room entrance of George Washington University Hospital in the early afternoon on March 30, 1981. After a luncheon speech appearance at the Washington Hilton Hotel, President Reagan was exiting the hotel and just before the entered his car, the sound of six gunshots popped out of the crowd to his left. He was hit by a bullet, which exited his would-be assassin's gun and then bounced off of his limousine's body. It entered his chest just under his left arm pit, went through his left lung, and stopped an inch from his heart. Three other people, a Washington, D.C. Policeman, a Secret Service Agent, and President Reagan's Press Secretary James Brady had also been hit by stray bullets. With the presidential limousine in movement, the President complained that he was having chest pain and gave his Secret Service agent, Jerry Paar, a hard time for what he thought was Jerry having cracked at least one of his ribs by jumping onto him and pushing him into the limousine at the time the shots rang out. The limousine was headed to the White House, but Paar noticed frothing blood at the corner of the President's mouth, thinking the President's lung was punctured from the rib that was broken, Paar directed the driver to divert to George Washington University Hospital's Emergency Room. The split-second decision saved Reagan's life.
Mrs. Reagan had been at the White House when the shooting happened, and her Secret Service Agent in Charge, George Umpher, went to her in the third floor Solarium, where she was meeting with her interior decorator. Umpher calmly told her that the shooting had happened, and that the President had not been hit, but was was at the hospital Emergency Room. Nancy immediately started for the residence elevator and told Umpher to get a car ready for her. He continued repeating that the President was fine and that there was no reason for her to leave the White House, but Mrs. Reagan told him to get her a car, or she was going to walk to the hospital. The car was readied and Mrs Reagan headed into D.C. traffic toward the hospital, unaccompanied by a Secret Service lead or follow up car, or even a police escort. While she waited in grid locked traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in her car, Mrs. Reagan anxiously considered getting out and running the rest of the way to the hospital. Suddenly the grid-lock broke and her car took off. When she arrived at the Emergency Room entrance, local news station cameras caught her anxious arrival. Mike Deaver greeted her inside and minced no words, saying, "Nancy, he's been hit."She was clearly upset, as she'd been told otherwise.
Following is an account of her interaction with her husband, who had lost so much blood, he was white.It was an emotional passage, which clearly conveyed that Nancy Reagan was not an the media dubbed "Ice Queen" or a narcissist. She loved her Ronnie and was scared that she was going to lose him. Later, in fact, she said she almost did.
Absolutely. I listened to it as much as I could. I showed up to a doctor's appointment an hour and fifteen minutes early because I was caught up with chores at home, and I knew I had a good book to listen to. Usually I hate waiting at places, but I am without my own car right now, and I am having to use Uber to get around the Denver, Colorado Metro area, I figured I'd make the best of a long wait, and just sit, educate, and enjoy myself. It was so worth it! I loved the book!
I am thankful to Audible, because now I can enjoy books once again! My ADHD has gotten worse with life, and while medication has helped with daily activities, keeping me on task, reading is still tough. I am really happy with this product!
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