cover image THE REAGANS: Portrait of a Marriage

THE REAGANS: Portrait of a Marriage

Anne Edwards, . . St. Martin's, $27.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-312-28500-5

Even in his 70s, Ronald Reagan would leave sentimental love notes for his wife, Nancy: "For My Mommy Poo... Love Poppa." In her latest book, prolific biographer Edwards (Ever After: Diana and the Life She Led) paints a portrait of the Reagans as completely in love. From the day they married, Nancy devoted her every moment to ensuring her husband's happiness. He, in turn, relied completely on Nancy and trusted her wholly. Those close to the couple admit that Reagan's success in politics would not have occurred without Nancy's constant devotion and involvement. Throughout his governorship of California, his presidency, the assassination attempt, his meetings with Gorbachev—Nancy's sentiments, advice and complaints figured prominently, to the extent that the president of the United States rearranged his schedule according to the advice of Nancy's favorite astrologer. But according to Edwards, this romantic picture came at a price. The Reagans' children yearned for their parents' love and acceptance, but found that the couple's all-encompassing relationship did not include them. While Edwards celebrates the Reagans' achievements, she does not shy away from presenting the darker, grimmer side of their life and does a wonderful job of fully fleshing out the convoluted and tortured emotions that define this famous family. In all, she offers an engaging yet honest look at the human experience played out on the public stage. 32 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Mitch Douglas. (June)