... deeply researched and compellingly crafted ... Tumulty paints a striking portrait ... Relying on Nancy’s previously unavailable personal papers at the Reagan library and interviews with her son and stepbrother, Tumulty is able to construct a persuasive portrait of the future first lady’s character development ... Tumulty’s biography, sympathetic yet objective, captures Reagan-era ironies[.]
Tumulty has produced a thorough, compelling biography that underscores what was always hidden in plain sight. Her Nancy is a driven, savvy, indomitable operative, a dogged domestic diplomat on behalf of her affable yet oddly remote ideologue of a husband.
Tumulty seems aware of the uphill battle involved in writing a thoroughly researched and historically responsible biographical reassessment of a controversial figure like the first lady ... She’s written a masterpiece. Tumulty is well aware of her subject’s shortcomings ... Tumulty, who interviewed a legion of sources, presents a picture of the first lady as surprisingly earthy, an avid listener, and consistently, stealthily, kind ... All future biographies of her will have to start with this one[.]
... seemingly recounts every known detail of this driven, complicated woman’s life. Interviews, society columns, previously published accounts, personal letters, mind-boggling minutiae, and even state documents from the Reagan Presidential Library inform scenarios that often refute versions of events from Reagan’s 1989 autobiography or stepdaughter Patti’s 1992 tell-all ... Tumulty, a political columnist, does offer commentary and analysis, but mostly lets the facts tell the story. Expect high demand.
... well-written ... Packed with detail, the book cites personal interviews with Nancy throughout the years, as well as a host of published sources ... A thoroughly researched, evenhanded treatment of the most loyal and most important of Ronald Reagan’s influencers; likely to be popular in both subject collections and public libraries.
... luminous and exhaustive ... the author vividly captures the personality and impact of the Chicago Gold Coast debutante who became a Hollywood star and then first lady ... Tumulty’s riveting narrative transcends such oddities as she leads us through the White House years, with colorful portraits of all of the relevant political players as well as the Reagan children. The author’s chapter on the AIDS crisis is a gem, as she clearly portrays the neglect by the White House, the complexity of the Reagans’ view of homosexuality, and the engagement of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to anchor the administration’s belated response ... The definitive biography of the woman who drove her husband’s presidential ambitions—a shoo-in for the silver screen.
... an astute reassessment ... Tumulty touches on dark family dynamics, including the impact of Nancy’s 'anxiety and insecurity' on her children, but the book’s greatest strength is the nuanced, in-depth portrayal of the Reagans’ relationship and Nancy’s fierce stewardship of her husband’s political goals. The result is a complex and engrossing portrait of one of the 20th century’s most quietly influential political figures.