The Reagan I Knew

The Reagan I Knew

3.5 13
by William F. Buckley Jr.

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An intimate portrait of Ronald Reagan from his political mentor, ally, and friend, William F. Buckley Jr.See more details below


An intimate portrait of Ronald Reagan from his political mentor, ally, and friend, William F. Buckley Jr.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Buckley worked on this book-commemorating his 30-relationship with Ronald Reagan-up to his final days. He struggles to paint a picture of a more private Reagan, but the book sheds little fresh insight; instead, it is a scattershot compilation of Buckley's reminiscences and reprinted correspondence between the author and Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Malcolm Hillgartner performs a good balancing act, shifting from the essays to the letters with subtle changes that clearly indicate whose letter is being read. His most impressive feat is creating a clear yet subdued voice within the reading to indicate when footnotes or asides for clarification are being made. A Basic Books hardcover. (Jan.)

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Library Journal

Buckley, the icon of conservative intellectuals, founder of the National Review and host of Firing Line, wrote almost 50 books and completed most of this one before his death. It offers a compilation of his correspondence with Ronald and Nancy Reagan during a friendship that began in 1961, narratives about Reagan's entire political career, a sampling of Buckley's columns, and an engaging foreword by Buckley's son, the popular novelist Christopher Buckley. The book does not live up to its promotional copy as "the most revealing portrait of Ronald Reagan the world is likely to have," because Ronald Reagan's responses to Buckley's letters are focused on politics and daily events and less introspective than they are humorous. Nevertheless, Buckley has written an enjoyable account of the Reagan years and the camaraderie he shared with the Reagans. He concludes that Reagan's legacy is his opposition to big government, his role in the fall of the Soviet Union, and his having been the nicest person to have been President. Recommended for most public libraries.
—Karl Helicher

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