The New York Times
The Reagan Diaries Extended Selections CD: The Reagan Diaries Extended Selections CDby Ronald Reagan, Eric Conger
During his two terms as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary in which he recorded, by hand, his innermost thoughts and observations on the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine day-to-day occurrences of his presidency. Now, nearly two decades after he left office, this remarkable record—the only daily Presidential
During his two terms as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary in which he recorded, by hand, his innermost thoughts and observations on the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine day-to-day occurrences of his presidency. Now, nearly two decades after he left office, this remarkable record—the only daily Presidential diary in American history—is available for the first time.
Edited by historian Douglas Brinkley, The Reagan Diaries provides a striking insight into one of this nation's most important presidencies and sheds new light on the character of a true American leader. Whether he was in his White House residence study or aboard Air Force One, each night Reagan wrote about the events of his day, which often included his relationships with other world leaders and the unforgettable moments that defined the era.
Seldom before has the American public been given access to the unfiltered experiences and opinions of a President in his own words. To read these diaries—filled with Reagan's trademark wit, sharp intelligence, and humor—is to gain a unique understanding of one of the most beloved occupants of the Oval Office in our nation's history.
The New York Times
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
"D----n those inhuman monsters," runs Ronald Reagan's diary entry for May 17, 1981. He was referring to the Soviet authorities who were keeping Natan Sharansky in the gulag despite Reagan's personal and private appeal to Leonid Brezhnev. These diaries will complete the reevaluation of Reagan by the historical profession. Whatever one thinks of his policies, Reagan emerges here as a focused, take-charge president in full control of his cabinet and administration. He was extremely selective in regard to which issues he took up and willing to let many lower-priority matters slide, but on the things that he cared about, he was forceful and persistent. These are diary entries and lack the intellectual heft and stylistic polish of some of the earlier Reagan writings to reach the public. But they show a president stamping his personality and his views on an administration and contribute to a richer vision of the most influential U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt. One can only wish that Roosevelt had also kept a diary.<
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- Edition description:
- Unabridged, 11 CD's, 13 Hours
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.60(d)
Read an Excerpt
The Reagan Diaries
By Ronald Reagan
HarperCollinsCopyright © 2007 Ronald Reagan
All right reserved.
The Inaugural (Jan. 20) was an emotional experience but then the very next day it was "down to work." The first few days were long and hard-daily Cabinet meetings interspersed with sessions with Congressional leaders regarding our ec. plan.
Monday, January 26
A meeting on terrorism with heads of F.B.I.-S.S.-C.I.A. Sec's of St., Defense & others. Have ordered they be given back their ability to function. Next a Cabinet meeting on the deal with Iran. We just may not implement some of the Carter executive orders on grounds they violate our own laws. Hostages will arrive in country tomorrow. It seems some of them had some tough questions for Carter in Germany as to why they were there so long and why they were there to begin with. Rest of day meeting committee chairmen & Sens. on raising the debt ceiling.
Tuesday, January 27
Ceremony on S. Lawn to welcome hostages home. Thousands of people in attendance. Met the familys earlier. Now we had in addition the familys of the 8 men who lost their lives in the rescue attempt. One couple lost their only son. His widow was also here. I've had a lump in my throat all day.-Evening 1st white tie reception for the diplomatic corps.
Wednesday, January 28
Visit by P.M. Seaga of Jamaica, his wife & members of his admin. Our 1st state luncheon. He won a terrific election victory over a Cuban backed pro-communist. I think we can help him & gradually take back the Caribbean which was becoming a "Red" lake.
Thursday, January 29
Nancy had a great triumph with committee which rides herd on White House (to preserve its history). They were enthusiastic about what she has already done to upgrade the 2nd & 3rd floors.
[Received cable from Mike Mansfield, U.S. ambassador to Japan.]
Friday, January 30
More meeting with Cong. leaders on trying to get debt ceiling lifted. If don't we'll be out of money by Feb. 18. Cong. recessing from 5th to 12th. Must get passage of bill by Fri. the 5th.
Short day in office-left for 1st weekend in Camp David. It was great to be in a house with the knowledge you could just open a door and take a walk outdoors if you wanted.
Saturday, January 31
Had a before lunch walk (it was cold). Spent afternoon in front of fire reading intelligence reports & Briefing papers for visit by Pres. Chun (Korea). We have definite evidence Nicaragua transferring hundreds of tons of arms from Cuba to El Salvador. P.M. ran a movie-"Tribute"-Jack Lemmon. He is truly a great performer.
[Sunday, February 1: took walk; returned to W.H.]
Monday, February 2
What's getting to be routine-full day in Oval office.
Tuesday, February 3
The arrival of Pres. Chun, his wife & staff. These meetings through an interpreter which can become a strain. Good meetings though-assured him we would not withdraw our troops from Korea
Wednesday, February 4
Cabinet discussion of grain embargo. I've always felt it hurt our farmers worse than it hurt Soviets. Many of our allies?? filled the gap & supplied Soviet. But now-how do we lift it without sending wrong message to Soviets? We need to take a new look at whole matter of strategy. Trade was supposed to make Soviets moderate, instead it has allowed them to build armaments instead of consumer products. Their socialism is an ec. failure. Wouldn't we be doing more for their people if we let their system fail instead of constantly bailing it out?
[Compliment from Weinberger on cabinet meeting.]
Thursday, February 5
[President's prayer breakfast; meetings with Boy Scouts and high school students.]
Lots of phone calls-Sen. Robt. Byrd (D) is playing games with bill to raise debt ceiling. Has held vote over til tomorrow.
Friday, February 6
My birthday. Nancy, Tip O'Neil, Paul Laxalt, Tom Evans & Cong. Wright from Texas surprised me (all duly recorded by Cap. Press Corps) with a beautiful cake. Tip gave me a tie & the flag which flew over the Cap. on Jan. 20. We wheeled the cake into another room where it was cut up by about 200 of our staff. That afternoon received a great present-our own Sens. who had held out on debt. ceiling turned around and we carried the day.
[Surprise birthday party with California friends.]
P.S. During day discovered my Ambas. appts. were processed by State Dept. They take forever. I want Bill Wilson cleared by them before 26th so he can meet Pope (he's to be Ambas. to Vatican) in Alaska. Told Penn James to tell the guy at State that was advising him to get off his A- & do it.
[Saturday, February 7: photo sessions and dinner party.]
Sunday, February 8
Thank you letters for gifts we found on 2nd floor Fri. night. It took entire Sat. morning to open. Just had a call from Al Haig. I had asked that we quietly have Swiss [...] tell Iranians if they did not free Mrs. Dryer (Am. woman they had charged with being a spy & imprisoned) we might find it difficult to implement the terms of the Carter hostage agreement. Mrs. Dryer is coming home. She was turned over to the Swiss. Word [...] is that last 2 weeks of hostage negotiations were completely dominated by Iranian fear they'd have to negotiate with our admin. I couldn't be happier.
Monday, February 9
Started the day learning Mrs. Dryer did not leave Iran-some snafu with paper work. Hopefully tomorrow.
[Meetings on timing of tax cuts, and with groups of state legislators; signed citation for Vietnam veterans.]
Tuesday, February 10
This was a day. I was wired for sound. David Brinkley is doing "a day in my life" for TV showing Fri. His cameras catch me in every meeting etc. and I turn on the sound for those things suitable & turn it off for balance of meetings. Began with Brkfst....
Excerpted from The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan Copyright © 2007 by Ronald Reagan. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Douglas Brinkley is professor of history and Baker Institute Fellow at Rice University. He is the author of numerous bestselling books including The Unfinished Presidency, The Boys of Pointe du Hoc, and The Great Deluge. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the in-house historian for CBS News, he divides his time between Austin and Houston, Texas.
Eric Conger's stage credits include appearances Off-Broadway and at the Long Wharf Theater. He has appeared as a regular on Another World and Loving, and has translated the works of Feydeau.
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