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.
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.
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.
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