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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A riveting inside account of the unprecedented rise to power and unmatched political legacy of the first woman Speaker of the House, by award-winning journalist Molly Ball
Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to Donald Trump has made her an icon of the Resistance, featured in viral memes clapping sardonically at the president or ripping up his State of the Union address. But the real Nancy Pelosi is neither the shrill partisan featured in thousands of attack ads nor the cautious corporatist reviled by the far left. She’s the rare politician who still knows how to get big things done—a master of legislative power whose policy accomplishments have touched millions of American lives, from providing universal access to health care to reforming Wall Street to allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. She’s done it all at a time of historic polarization and gridlock, despite being routinely underestimated by allies and opponents alike.
Ball’s nuanced, page-turning portrait takes readers inside Pelosi’s life and times, from her roots in urban Baltimore to her formative years as a party activist and fundraiser, from the fractious politics of San Francisco to high-stakes congressional negotiations with multiple presidents. The result is a compelling portrait of a barrier-breaking woman that sheds new light on American political history. Based on exclusive interviews with the Speaker and deep background reporting, Ball shows Pelosi through a thoroughly modern lens to explain how this extraordinary woman has met her moment.
Time journalist Ball debuts with a lively and detailed portrait of California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Born into a Maryland political dynasty (her father was a congressman and mayor of Baltimore) in 1940, Pelosi raised five children with her husband, Paul, a California businessman, as she moved up the ranks of San Francisco's Democratic Party. Elected to Congress in 1987, she advocated for AIDS victims, prevented the Presidio from being sold to private developers, and advocated for human rights in China following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. She also fought against the war in Iraq and, in her first stint as House speaker, helped President Obama pass the Affordable Care Act. Ball notes Pelosi's myriad milestones the first daughter to follow her father into the House of Representatives, longest-serving member of the House Intelligence Committee, undefeated in floor votes during her first term as speaker and credits her with helping save the economy from disaster in 2008 and changing course to launch the 2019 impeachment inquiry. Ball also notes Pelosi's struggles, including her tensions with progressive upstarts such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and accusations that she galvanized Republican turnout in Jon Ossoff's loss in a 2017 special election for a congressional seat. Ball's accessible review of recent legislative history and behind-the-scenes coverage of congressional matters provide valuable insights for political junkies. Even readers who don't entirely agree with Pelosi's agenda will gain respect for her accomplishments and tenacity.