Synopses & Reviews
Six years in the writing and based on exclusive access to Nancy Reagan's papers, as well as interviews with her, this is the first volume of what is sure to be judged the definitive portrait of Ron and Nancy Reagan's emergence as America's "First Couple," with special emphasis on the duo's social history and career-building alliances.
Ronnie and Nancy: he was born amid modest circumstances in rural Illinois; she grew up in a tony enclave of Chicago in an atmosphere of privilege and high expectations. He would learn early on the value of befriending the monied and powerful...she would become her ex-actress mother's pet project, thrust repeatedly into Hollywood circles and taught over and over again the value of connections. Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis couldn't have been more unlike in their origins, or more alike in their awareness of the value that can be extracted from relationships. Over the course of decades they elevated the social to a kind of art form. Who better to chronicle that journey from obscurity to Hollywood's most talked about couple to ultimate political game players than Vanity Fair writer and ex-Interview Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bob Colacello. In researching this book, Colacello has spent thousands of hours interviewing Nancy Reagan as well as hundreds of Reagan intimates.
"This joint biography by Vanity Fair contributor Colacello (Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up) opens not with a power scene in the White House of the new elected President Reagan, but with a glittering dinner at Le Cirque: Nancy Reagan wore mink, we're told; her friend Betsy Bloomingdale wore sable. So from page one, it's clear that this account will break little new ground regarding the most vital aspect of Ronald Reagan's life: his political evolution and rise to power. Colacello's chief interest is family gossip and the Reagans' interactions with the world's social elites: the aging Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, Malcolm Forbes, and Lee and Walter Annenberg, among many others. Throughout the book, vast political generalizations dovetail with energetic name-dropping and a recitation of the Reagans' social calendar. Colacello also focuses on the Reagans' relationships with their children, and some of these details are quite interesting: during the 1970s, Ron Jr. could be heard by neighbors in Pacific Palisades screaming at his mother: 'Leave me alone!... All I want is to be left alone.' On the political side, Colacello provides a readable but not incisive chronicle of well-known events, almost always adopting Nancy Reagan's point of view vis--vis her husband's assistants, associates, allies and enemies (the author had Nancy's cooperation). All told, this account gives far too much space to who had dinner with whom and on which yacht, nearly always to the neglect of more important matters. (Oct. 6) Forecast: While there are more scholarly volumes on Reagan's life, this will be the popular version, aided by a first serial in Vanity Fair, a Good Morning America appearance and major advertising and promotion." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Respectful without being fawning, Colacello achieves a rare alchemy, spinning 'the social side of life' into serious insights about his subjects' hearts and minds." Walter Isaacson, The New York Times Book Review
"The biography's actual structure is impeccable as the author profiles the two of them individually, in a series of alternating chapters, and then draws their stories together." Booklist