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Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House--1911 to 1980 Hardcover – October 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (October 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044653272X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446532723
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,826,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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-à-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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Colacello is the former editor of Interview magazine and currently a special correspondent for Vanity Fair. Six years of research and approximately 200 interviews, including many talks with Nancy Reagan herself, stand behind this first volume in a planned two-part dual biography of the late president and his controversial First Lady. In nice and easy prose, in a tone that is both friendly toward his subjects but also balanced in his estimation of them (for instance, about Nancy, "I agreed that the press has been unduly hard on her. Yet it crossed my mind [that she] seemed to have a talent for playing the martyr"), Colacello takes what he calls "a social approach" to the lives of the Reagans. His basic premise, well supported here, is that the importance of Nancy and her social connections to the career of Ronald cannot be overestimated. 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. This first volume deals with the pre-presidential years, which admirers of the president and Nancy will enjoy learning about; even readers less than admiring of the couple will be curious about the details of their lives, both separately and in tandem. Expect much demand. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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A great read from cover to cover.
M. Pressman
Reinforced my belief that Reagan was a remarkable man and a great president - and had an incredible partner in Nancy.
TpC
The book makes one feel queasy; Ronnie and Nancy seem bought and paid for by their cronies.
Lala Lady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Burt Boyar on October 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bob Colocello has produced an honorable, historically valuable, and oh-so readable account of the formation of America's two most iconoclastic political figures. Honorable because given the extraordinary, unique access he enjoyed to the Reagan family and their closest friends Mr. Colocello resisted the temptation to quickly write a hugely popular and profitable, juicy, inside-gossipy, but simplistic piece of hard-backed journalism. This decision also surely involved fending off, tolerating, and finally ignoring incessant pleas from friends, family and editors in an impatient chorus of "Where is it already?" "Hurry up or soon nobody will still be interested in the Reagans anymore."

Instead, Mr. Colocell hunkered down and researched, researched, researched, devoting five or six years to understanding the formation of the now near-mythical Ronald and Nancy Reagan, finally producing "Ronnie and Nancy", a remarkable, meticulously detailed intinerary of the unplanned, unexpected odyssey of two normal, not at all politically ambitious people, from middle-class America to the White House; to counting some of history's most meaningful world leaaders as their friends, and for those same historical figures to consider themselves blessed by the friendship of the Reagans. It is an exquisite work.

"Ronnie and Nancy" is the American Dream if ever there was one, told with an historian's detail and detachment, combined with a popular writer's ability to combine those facts with the human, page-turning material that describes how hard it was, yet how good it was. The passages in which the author quotes people who were there from the beginning to the end, the legendary Kitchen Cabinet, are priceless in their charm and intimacy and authenticity.

I loved this book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Bell on October 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The perfect mix of gossip and history. Meticulously researched and carefully observed. You won't be able to put it down.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Pressman on November 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Colacello deconstructs the Reagans like no other author has. He starts with the premise that their personal and social lives were inseparable from their political ambitions, and an essential factor in Ronald Reagan's rise to power. He goes on to explore how the couple's social milieu and interpersonal relationships influenced Reagan's political ideas and governing style.

A fascinating portrait of Nancy emerges as well: Colacello sees her as supremely focused and determined to advance her husband's political career, but motivated by pure adoration of Ronnie rather than any overriding desire for control and power.

The writing flows easily and is peppered with enough interesting anecdotes and revealing quotes to make the reader forget at times that this is, in fact, a serious political biography. A great read from cover to cover.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on February 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I passed this book by many times before finally breaking down and buying it. Somehow, its title and dust cover just didn't grab me. Besides that, having already read several biographies of the Reagans and the Reagan family members, I was fairly well convinced that the book couldn't possibly contain much of anything new. Even after buying it, I still wasn't much inclined to read it. What finally convinced me to do so was when I read in the prologue that Colacello was a personal friend of Nancy Reagan and that Nancy had arranged for him to have unprecedented access to her personal files and to virtually all of the Reagan's living friends and associates and/or their children. How could I resist? This had to be a spectacular source of inside information. And it was!

The early part of the book traces the lives of Nancy Davis and Ronald Reagan in parallel chapters. This section is interesting primarily for the light it sheds on Nancy's early life; her relationships with her mother, Edith Davis, and her adoptive father, Dr. Loyal Davis; and for the in-depth background provided concerning both Edith and Loyal.
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