She’s the iconic leader who puts Donald Trump in his place, the woman with the toughness to take on a lawless president and defend American democracy. Ever since the Democrats took back the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Nancy Pelosi has led the opposition with strategic mastery and inimitable elan. It’s a remarkable comeback for the veteran politician who for years was demonized by the right and taken for granted by many in her own party—even though, as speaker under President Barack Obama, she deserves much of the credit for epochal liberal accomplishments from universal access to health care to saving the US economy from collapse, from reforming Wall Street to allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. How did an Italian grandmother in four-inch heels become the greatest legislator since L.B.J.?
Ball’s nuanced, page-turning portrait takes readers inside the life and times of this historic and under-appreciated figure. 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.
“[An] illuminating new biography of the most powerful woman in American politics.”—Michelle Goldberg, The New Times Book Review
“[A] smart, solid biography with a lesson: Despite our current fixation on political showmanship, politics works best in a complicated democracy like ours when its practitioners can navigate their way through the byzantine cloakrooms of power.”—Joe Klein, The Washington Post
“[A] sharp, lively biography . . . With deft political analysis, the author charts Pelosi’s rise in the ranks, her relationships with George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump, and her record.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“There's a delicious scene in Pelosi where she chases down a Republican congressman who had disparaged her and shouts, ‘You're an insignificant person,’ at him again and again. Whether taking on a low-level back-bencher in the House or President Trump in the Oval Office, Nancy Pelosi could never be called insignificant, as Molly Ball so revealingly documents in this absorbing book.”—David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of First in His Class: The Biography of Bill Clinton
“Molly Ball’s Pelosi is the inspirational political book we’ve all been waiting for. In this dark season, Ball shines a light on the nearly heroic Speaker and her unwavering commitment to truth, justice, and well-tailored jackets. This is the definitive biography of an icon.”—Vanessa Grigoriadis, author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus
“An engrossing and deeply reported political biography of an astute and powerful woman. Molly Ball’s lively portrait of Nancy Pelosi, twice Speaker of the House, is packed with sage insights and telling anecdotes. This sparkling new take on Pelosi makes us understand how this ‘San Francisco liberal’—often the only woman in the room—has become America’s most consequential legislator since the days of LBJ.”—Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer
"A great read about a great woman. Pelosi is timely and valuable, not only for women who will be inspired by her ability to sequence a career from motherhood to national power, but for all Americans who still believe that politics is not only the ‘art of the possible,’ but also a path to lasting progressive change."—Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America
"Read this book, not just to understand how Nancy Pelosi operates as Speaker of the House, but to understand how she became the first female Speaker in American history. Molly Ball, one of the most perceptive political reporters in the country, takes readers on a journey through Pelosi's formative political experiences, which parallels the transformation of the political process over the last 60 years."—Amy Walter, national editor for the Cook Political Report
“Even after years spent covering the House, and three different Speakers, I have a far richer and more intimate understanding of Nancy Pelosi after reading Molly Ball’s masterwork. Molly Ball's achievement with Pelosi is telling us what makes the most powerful woman in American history tick. With that knowledge, we can now examine the Speaker’s every accomplishment—political and personal—in the sweeping, elegant context her legacy demands."—Tim Alberta, New York Times bestselling author of American Carnage
“A top-notch political biography.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An entertaining and balanced biography of Nancy Pelosi . . . Ball offers plenty of insightful anecdotes, presenting events within historical perspective so that readers can fully appreciate their import.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A lively and detailed portrait . . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly
It was sometime around 5 a.m. when Nancy Pelosi decided she might as well just give up.
January 3, 2019, was a day she had been looking forward to for a long time, the day she would, for the second time, become...