Historic and deeply revealing, these are the personal diaries kept by Ronald Reagan during his time in the White House (1981-89). During his eight years as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary, in which he recorded his innermost thoughts and observations. The handwritten diaries have been seen by only a few ...
Historic and deeply revealing, these are the personal diaries kept by Ronald Reagan during his time in the White House (1981-89). During his eight years as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary, in which he recorded his innermost thoughts and observations. The handwritten diaries have been seen by only a few people to date, and they share Reagan's personal insights into the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine day-to-day events of his Presidency. 'When we left Sacramento, we felt the time passed so quickly, we could hardly remember the eight years,' said Nancy Reagan. 'When Ronnie became president, he wanted to write it all down so we could remember these special times.' From his first inauguration to weekends at Camp David to the end of the Cold War, these Presidential diaries are the most detailed in American history, filled with Reagan's trademark wit, sharp intelligence, and humour. They offer the deep warmth of his voice, while shedding new light on the character of a true American leader. To read these diaries is to gain a unique understanding of the Oval Office and one of the greatest presidents in American history. Reagan describes meetings with heads of state and international statesmen (including the Queen, Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro). His geniality shines through, while his marriage to Nancy and his strong relationship with God emerge clearly as the cornerstones of his life.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a wonderful study of the every-day life of our President. It would make a great college text for a Political Science Course re HIstory of Presidential Politics, or Presidential Politics etc. I was surprised at how my perception of Reagan changed after reading the bk. I had thought of Reagan as a Ceremonial Figurehead beholden to his wealthy "kitchen-cabinet" i.e. an Oligarchy. The bk. relates just how engaged Ronald Reagan was in his job. I came away from the Diary a lot more respectful of the man. I really admire his integrity and especially his consistancy. Reagan never tried to be anything but "who he was". He never tried to please everybody; yet he was always respectful of the fact that he was an elected servant of the people. He seldom complained about petty stuff; he tried to remain upbeat throughout hs challenges. The Diary demonstrates the President's candor in terms of the way he evaluted his friends and enemies. He was especially frustrated w/house speaker Tip O'Neil, while in public they appeared to be the greatest of friends. During Reagan's term in office, I remember the tabloid stories about how he and Mrs. Reagan had dysfunctional relationship with their children. I don't doubt that there were problems. I did read Patty Davi's roman a clef, as well as other family narratives. I thought of the Reagans as being very cold to their children. Seldom seeing any of their family at W.H., not even at Holidays. The Diary reveals that the President was very emotionally involved w/his kids. He rec'd regular visits from his daughter Maureen.regularly. During the holidays at least of their children, plus their spouses + kids, would celebrate with their parents. Reagan kept a sense of humor in dealing w/his children. I have a very different concept of Ronald Reagan as husband and father after reading this book. In terms of foreign policy, the President relates only the basics of his meetings w/other heads of state. I assume this had to do w/security issues that might exist to this very day. Indeed, it's interesting to read this Diary, which was started back in 1980's & note we are still involved in some of the same conflicts Reagan discusses. For people who are looking for spicy, hot gossip; they really won't find it here. Reagan does not reveal much about the personalities of his W.H. staff, foreign leaders, or our own congress-reps. He was a very discreet person; he was not interested in knowing about the overly personal lives of his friends or peers. The Diary's strength lies in presenting a wonderful picture of just how our President functions in day-to-day activites in the W.H. You learn about the ceremonial aspects of the Presidency as well as the legislative issues. My impression of Reagan after reading the Diary: He was a very good man. A very fair person. His accomplisments in bringing down the Berlin Wall, and great Reforms within the Soviet Union should not be minimized. He was proud, he loved hearing applause, and he appreciated the affection of his citizens.
He was very devoted to his wife, so devoted that he hated to spend one night in the W.H. without her. (The Diary reveals that the First Lady liked to get away from the W.H. for long weekends, granted she did have a sick parent in AZ, and an ambitious Anti-Drug Campaign (Just Say No). Reagan was a conservative through & through, but he was not a mean, selfish man. I could not detect anything sadistic about him. He believed people need to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. Indeed, our failure with the Great Society of the 1960's might bear this out. It seems certain sub-cultures within American Poverty, just don't get better ,in spite of all the government money thrown at them. Regardless of how the reader might feel about Ronald Reagan, this is an invaluable book to read. The reader will close the book lots more knowlegable about how the American Presidency worked (at least during the 1980s)..
Publishers Weekly, 2007-07-30 Upon entering the White House in 1981, President Ronald Reagan committed himself to daily journaling for the sake of posterity. As edited by historian Douglas Brinkley and read by Eric Conger, the entries convey a palpable sense of focus and determination. Conger plays down the larger-than-life Great Communicator public persona in favor of a straight-shooting businessman that one might expect to encounter around the table at a Rotary Club meeting in the rural Midwest. As Reagan reflects on such decisions as removing controversial Secretary of State Alexander Haig from office or firing the striking air traffic controllers, Conger skillfully portrays matter-of-fact toughness, though he demonstrates equal command of Reagan's softer side, particularly his expressions of grief during times of national tragedy. The abridgment melds reactions to historically significant events with more routine narratives in a smooth flow, though history buffs will still feel the urge to dig more deeply, and younger listeners not sufficiently schooled in key people and events from the '80s may wish that Brinkley had provided contextual information beyond his introduction. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 2). (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-04-02 The diaries our 40th president kept while in office--edited and abridged by historian Brinkley (The Great Deluge)--are largely a straightforward political chronicle. Reagan describes meetings with heads of state and antiabortion leaders, reflects on legislative strategy and worries about leaks to the press. He often used his diary to vigorously defend his polices: for example, after a 1984 visit with South African archbishop Desmond Tutu (whom Reagan calls "naive"), the president explained why his approach to apartheid--"quiet diplomacy"--was preferable to sanctions. Reagan sometimes seems uncomfortable with dissent, as when he is irked by a high school student who presents a petition advocating a nuclear freeze. And he often sees the media as a "lynch mob," trying to drum up scandal where there is none. Reagan's geniality shines through in his more quotidian comments: he muses regularly about how much he appreciates Nancy, and his complaints about hating Monday mornings make him seem quite like everyone else. Brinkley doesn't weigh down the text with extensive annotation; this makes for smooth reading, but those who don't remember the major political events of the 1980s will want to refer to the glossary of names. Reagan's diaries are revealing, and Brinkley has done historians and the broad public a great service by editing them for publication. (May 22) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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