Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Table of Contents

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Editor's Foreword

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pp. ix-x

Nancy Reagan was a controversial first lady before her husband assumed the presidency in January 1981, and she has remained so to the present time. From her hints that Jimmy Carter and his wife should move out of the White House early to her current advocacy of stem cell research, Mrs. Reagan has been an outspoken public...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xi

There are a number of people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. The employees of the Reagan Library were patient in explaining exactly what was and was not available at any particular moment and helped me acquire copies of relevant primary material. Lewis Gould, the series editor, read numerous chapter drafts...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

The most obvious differences are length and focus: my earlier writings on Nancy Reagan were essays, part of larger works, and sought to place Nancy Reagan in the context of her predecessors; the present work is a book devoted entirely to Mrs. Reagan, and focuses on her influence on her husband’s political career and...

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1. A Supporting Actor Comes of Age

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pp. 7-35

Nancy Reagan’s career as first lady has been evaluated from a number of perspectives—her role as advisor to her husband, her sponsorship of the “Just Say No” campaign against drug abuse, her use of astrology in shaping the president’s schedule, and her impact on White House personnel. While most biographical accounts...

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2. Learning the Role of First Lady

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pp. 36-66

Although Nancy Reagan has often said that she pays little attention to her image, many who know her disagree. According to Michael Deaver, there are “few public relations professionals with a better public-relations antenna than her.”1 That acumen would prove very important to the first lady during Ronald Reagan’s first term...

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3. Nancy Reagan, Casting Director

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pp. 67-98

As a good supporting actress, Mrs. Reagan always looked for ways to make the show better. By all accounts, the first lady devoted considerable effort to surrounding the president with just the right advisors and staff. Her innate ability to read people combined with the president’s excessive feelings of loyalty and his resulting...

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4. Living under the Lights

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pp. 99-117

All modern first ladies lead their lives in the glare of the spotlight, and Mrs. Reagan was no exception. As the mass media have evolved, presidents and their wives have become national celebrities.1 Every action they take and all that happens to them is fodder for the national news and radio talk shows. With the advent...

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5. Nancy Reagan, Screenwriter

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pp. 118-141

Given Mrs. Reagan’s involvement in personnel matters, it was only natural that questions about her impact on policy would be raised. If the first lady could arrange the resignation of the president’s chief of staff, she might also help shape the administration’s foreign and domestic policies. Mrs. Reagan became...

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6. The Curtain Falls

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pp. 142-172

In reviewing the years of the Reagan presidency, it is clear that Nancy Reagan’s contributions as first lady differed from her contemporaries. She was not in the mold of a Betty Ford, who spoke out on public issues, or a Rosalynn Carter, who sat in on cabinet meetings. Unlike Hillary Clinton, she did not lead a presidential...

Notes

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pp. 173-206

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Bibliographic Essay

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pp. 207-212

Nancy Reagan’s personal papers and the diary she kept during her White House years are not yet open to researchers. A significant amount of other relevant material is available through the Ronald Reagan Library at 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, California 03605. This includes about 65 percent of the materials related to...

Index

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pp. 213-216

Back Cover

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