He was an actor, newly divorced, whose controversial tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild was drawing more attention than his film career. She was a contract player at MGM, unmarried and rapidly growing too old to play the starlet. It was time, she decided, to settle down and become Mrs. Somebody Important. So Nancy Davis contrived an introduction to Ronald Reagan, and the Reagans’ march into history began.
The Reagans is their story, a penetrating portrayal of one of the most powerful couples of the twentieth century. Distinguished biographer Anne Edwards, who wrote the seminal book on Ronald Reagan's budding years, Early Reagan: The Rise to Power, now paints the first in-depth, intimate portrait of the man who became our fortieth president and the woman without whom he might never have reached such heights.
It was a dramatic love story from the start: Nancy was always first in Reagan’s thoughts, and he was paramount in Nancy’s actions. This obsessional love, however, had a darker side for the four Reagan children. Anne Edwards brings the Reagans’ dysfunctional family life into sharp focus, along with a fascinating array of supporting players---from Reagan’s evangelistic mother, Nelle, to Nancy’s adoptive father, Dr. Loyal Davis (said to be “right of Atilla the Hun”), as well as Frank Sinatra, Lew Wasserman, Barry Goldwater, Gerald Ford, and other key figures in government and entertainment.
Few women in the twentieth century had as much power as did Nancy Reagan, and few were so widely mistrusted and disliked. Anne Edwards shows you a side of Nancy that has never before been revealed. As Reagan rose to power, Nancy defended her husband’s interests with both opponents and supporters---and then took on the even more difficult battle to maintain her husband’s dignity through his descent into Alzheimer’s disease.
The Reagans is an original and mesmerizing look at a presidential marriage that is every bit as interesting and important as that of John and Abigail Adams or Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
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St. Martin's Press
January 28, 2014
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