Gibbs, Nancy 1960–

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Gibbs, Nancy 1960–

(Nancy Reid Gibbs)


Born January 25, 1960, in NY; married; children: two daughters. Education: Yale University, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1982; Oxford University, M.A., 1984.


Home—Westchester, NY.


Writer, journalist, editor, and educator. Time magazine, international writer, 1985-88, feature writer, 1988-91, senior editor, 1991-96, chief political writer, 1996-2002, editor-at-large, 2002—. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Ferris Professor of Journalism, 1993.


Phi Beta Kappa.


Marshall Scholar, Oxford University; Luce Award, Story of the Year, and Sigma Delta Chi Magazine Writing Award, Society of Professional Journalists, both 2002, both for article "If You Want to Humble an Empire."


Children of Light: Friends Seminary, 1786-1986, Friends Seminary (New York, NY), 1986.

(With the editorial staff of Time magazine) Mad Genius: The Odyssey, Pursuit, and Capture of the Unabomber Suspect, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Michael Duffy) The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House, Center Street (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books, including the Princeton Anthology of Writing, edited by John McPhee and Carol Rigolot.


Nancy Gibbs is a writer, journalist, and educator whose career encompasses almost two decades at the prestigious U.S. news weekly, Time magazine. A 1982 summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, Gibbs went on to study as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University before graduating in 1984. She has retained a connection to academia after being named Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in 1993.

Gibbs joined Time magazine in 1985 and was originally assigned to the international desk, noted a biographer on the Students and Leaders Web site. By 1988, she had been promoted to feature writer, and her in-depth articles soon evolved into a steady stream of prominent cover stories for the magazine. She covered U.S. national politics, including the 1996 and 2000 presidential campaigns, and helped shape Time's coverage of the 1998 impeachment controversy surrounding President Clinton. She wrote the September 11, 2001, memorial issue of the magazine, as well as many subsequent stories on the attacks and their effects on the country. In all, Gibbs has written some one hundred cover stories for Time, reported a biographer on the Future of Life Web site. She has also served as the magazine's senior editor and, since 2002, as Time's editor-at-large.

With Michael Duffy, Gibbs is the author of The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House, a comprehensive biography of well-known televangelist Graham and his relationship with a succession of U.S. presidents from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush. The book is based not only on the author's in-depth research, but on the rare access that Graham was granted through four personal interviews. "Many of the details are reported here for the first time, and they are at once comforting and troubling, predictable and surprising, funny and tragic—everything we would expect from personalities as big as Graham's and, say, Bill Clinton's," observed Michael G. Long, writing in the Christian Century. Graham's "private ministry to Presidents, going back to Harry Truman, offers profound insight into the forces that have shaped both politics and religion in America—and the costs and benefits of marrying the two," observed Richard Stengel, writing in Time.

The authors recount stories of Graham's ministry to presidents such as Lyndon Johnson; his fascination with power and his desire to be close to the source of political influence in the United States; his unwavering patriotism and stance toward the war in Vietnam; and controversial statements made about Jews during an early 1972 White House meeting.

Gibbs and Duffy focus much of their narrative on the personal and professional relationship between Graham and embattled U.S. president Richard M. Nixon. Their friendship "forms the centerpiece of this thoughtful book," and Gibbs and Duffy "marvelously dramatize Graham and Nixon's fraught, intimate relationship," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. The connection between Graham and Nixon also illustrates the trouble the personable and popular evangelist sometimes had in separating personal friendships from professional responsibilities, and in maintaining a clear divide between pastoral counseling and courting of political power. It was only after the devastating Watergate scandal, the authors note, that Graham seemed to fully reconsider his position as an influence over the powerful and reorient himself back to a role as spiritual counsel. "Better than anyone else to date, Gibbs and Duffy describe and document what we have long suspected: that in spite of his many pronouncements that he was staying out of politics, Billy Graham was far more than just a preacher—before and after Watergate," Long commented.

The authors "have done posterity immense (and very readable) service by chronicling Graham's devotion," commented Ray Olson in a Booklist review. Long concluded that The Preacher and the Presidents is "one of the most significant contributions to the study of religion and politics in the United States in the twenty-first century."



Booklist, August, 2007, Ray Olson, review of The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House, p. 13.

Christian Century, December 11, 2007, Michael G. Long, "Pastor to Presidents," review of The Preacher and the Presidents, p. 42.

Newsweek, August 20, 2007, Lisa Miller, "The Pastor to the Presidents; A New Biography of Billy Graham Explores His Love for People and for Power," review of The Preacher and the Presidents, p. 19.

New York Press, February 17, 2004, Matt Taibbi, "The Inhalation of Nancy Gibbs."

Publishers Weekly, June 27, 2005, Steven Zeitchik, "Billy Graham-Mania Has Struck," p. 12; June 4, 2007, review of The Preacher and the Presidents, p. 44.

Quill, June, 2002, Ferrell Wellman, "Standards under Pressure," p. 10.

Time, August 20, 2007, Richard Stengel, "Praying with Presidents," review of The Preacher and the Presidents, p. 6.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), August 18, 2007, Grant Wacker, "Presidential Preacher: Book about Billy Graham Shows How Much the Religious and the Political Mix in America," review of The Preacher and the Presidents, p. 3.


Crosspointe blog, (November 5, 2007), review of The Preacher and the Presidents.

Future of Life, (May 7, 2008), author biography.

Hachette Book Group Web site, (May 7, 2008), author biography.

Students and Leaders, (May 7, 2008), author biography.