The public perception of the First Lady has evolved through the years and the press and scholars are beginning to take note of the essential role presidents’ wives have played in the Administration and in the nation as a whole. Their participation in the country’s historical, philosophical and sociological experience has made them “First Women” and “First Partners”. They have been identified as standard bearers of the whole female community, as they have both pioneered and reflected women’s role in American society. The twentieth century in particular has seen the construction of their image in the media and highlighted the evolution of their political role at the heart of presidential power.
Has Nancy Reagan been underrated, misunderstood, unfairly criticized? Have her qualities (clear-sightedness, rigor, moral rectitude, empathy, her positive image abroad, etc.) been too often ignored? To what extent has she expanded or limited the undefined institution of the First Lady? The book seeks to explore the ambiguity that underlies this First Lady’s multiple facets. It intends to shed light on the particularities of one of the most controversial yet exceptional women of the twentieth century and get a deeper insight into the complex role of the (first) lady they called “the woman behind the man”. This book was published in hardcover under the title “Nancy Reagan: The Woman Behind the Man.”