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Publisher's Summary

The definitive biography of the fiercely vigilant and politically astute First Lady who shaped one of the most consequential presidencies of the 20th century: Nancy Reagan.

The made-in-Hollywood marriage of Ronald and Nancy Reagan is more than a love story - it’s the partnership that made him president. Of the pair, Nancy was the one with the sharper instincts about people, the superior radar for trouble, and the keen sense of how to secure his place in history. The only person in the world to whom Ronald Reagan felt truly close, Nancy understood how to foster his strengths and compensate for his weaknesses. Neither timid nor apologetic about wielding her power, Nancy Reagan made herself a place in history. 

But that confidence took years to develop. Nancy’s traumatic early childhood instilled in her a lifelong anxiety and a craving for security. Born into a broken marriage, she spent seven years yearning for the absent mother who abandoned her to pursue an acting career. When she met Ronnie, who had a difficult upbringing of his own, the two fractured halves became whole. And as Ronnie turned from acting to politics, she did too, helping build the scaffolding of his rise and cultivating the wealthy and powerful figures who would help pave his way. Not only was Nancy crucial in shaping Ronald’s White House team and in softening her husband’s rhetoric, she became an unseen force pushing her husband toward what she saw as his grandest purpose - to shake his image as a warmonger and leave behind a more peaceful world. 

This book explores the multifaceted character of Nancy Reagan and reveals new details surrounding the tumultuous presidency. The Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty spent four years interviewing the people who knew this couple best and draws on overlooked archives, letters, memoirs, and White House records, compiling the most extensive biography of Nancy Reagan yet. From the AIDS epidemic to tensions with the Soviets and the war on drugs, this book shows how Nancy Reagan became one of the most influential First Ladies of the century.

©2021 Karen Tumulty. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Triumph of Nancy Reagan

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-04-2021

A poignant and rich biography—well worth the time!

This biography is so detailed and beautifully written that it could be known also as the Triumph of Karen Tumulty! There is so much here for the reader to absorb—of history, politics, and humanity—that is is almost like taking a journey though the decades with the Reagan family. In addition to the many other reasons to listen to this book, the Audible is masterfully read.

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  • Happy_Reader
  • 28-04-2021

Insightful and moving

I enjoyed this book so much. It puts Nancy Reagan in a new light. Great lady!

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  • Anne F. Call
  • 06-07-2021

Really enjoyed this biography

The author does a brilliant job bringing together the story of one woman and the history of the United States in the 20th century.

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  • Keith
  • 03-05-2021

Solid biography, but not groundbreaking

The tendency with most biographies of first ladies is to simply see them as appendages of their powerful husbands. Tumulty struggles with this throughout and never seems to choose whether she thinks of Nancy Reagan as her own entity or simply an extension of her husband. Clearly, her persona was wrapped up in playing the role of the supportive wife, but the content of her character both behind the scenes and in her public appearances showed a woman who was much more than a dutiful spouse. While the book provides good background information on Nancy prior to her arrival in Hollywood and a thoughtful consideration of her role as a shepherd of her husband's legacy in the post-White House years, she gets lost for large swaths of the book as Tumulty provides overviews of key events in Ronald Reagan's life. Essentially, this is a book that is more about Ronald Reagan than it is about Nancy Reagan.

The narration is largely good, but with some recurring issues. Perhaps it's an impossible task to find a reader with a solid background in both world affairs and Hollywood history, but there are a number of clunky pronunciations of key figures throughout.

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  • Colin McIntosh
  • 20-04-2021

Long But Worth Every Minute

So you look and think jeez 25 hours + but trust me it’s so well narrated and interesting you stay engaged. The research is clear and it dispels many myths but is also a very balanced view of a First Lady who was like Marmite. I really didn’t think I’d last the course being so long but was surprised when the end credits came up. Also looks, naturally, at Ronald Reagan and regardless of your thoughts of politics you can’t help but be fascinated by their lives and contributions to the American narrative.
Really can’t recommend highly enough

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