With Reagan: The Inside Story

With Reagan: The Inside Story

by Edwin Meese, Dick Estell
     
 

Edwin Meese's goal in WITH REAGAN is to bolster what he sees as "eight years of remarkable progress" that "are being either ignored or disparaged by journalists, academics and 'instant historians.'"

This loyalist to Reagan and his conservative philosophy has given us less a memoir of his years as a top White House aide and attorney general than a defense of Reagan

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Overview

Edwin Meese's goal in WITH REAGAN is to bolster what he sees as "eight years of remarkable progress" that "are being either ignored or disparaged by journalists, academics and 'instant historians.'"

This loyalist to Reagan and his conservative philosophy has given us less a memoir of his years as a top White House aide and attorney general than a defense of Reagan as an active and engaged leader who single-handedly transformed the nation and the world.

"Meese offers historically valuable and tantalizing insights into the Reagan administration and the Machiavellian world of Washington politics." (Kirkus Reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One's reading of this will likely be determined by one's political orientation, for the former attorney general pulls out all the stops here: he contends that President Reagan not only led the longest peacetime period of economic expansion in the history of our nation, but also spearheaded the cause of liberty to an unprecedented victory over the forces of oppression. Meese's stated purpose in writing the book is to counter the ``blatant attempt to distort the impact of Reagan's leadership and to derogate or deny his accomplishments.'' Prominent among the latter, in his view, were fighting inflation, rebuilding America's defenses, reducing taxes, and almost singlehandedly winning the Cold War. Meese presents an arguable explanation of the Iran-Contra affair, maintaining that the administration was guilty of ``bad procedure'' but not illegality. He reports that Reagan and Vice President Bush were ``shocked and surprised'' when Meese informed them of the diversion of funds to the Contras. Serious mistakes were made, he allows, by men who in their zeal to advance legitimate national interests took steps that were both unauthorized and unwise. Photos. (June)
Library Journal
Here's the true believer's account of the Reagan administration from a man who owed his entire political life to the fate of Ronald Reagan. Although his father served 50 years in county government, Meese was surprisingly apolitical until appointed California Governor Reagan's legal advisor in late 1966 and then chief of staff in 1969. The pattern reappeared in 1980, when he became White House counselor and then the U.S. attorney general in 1985. Meese's ebullient and dichotomous approach to politics surfaces in his defense of the Reagan administration. Unwaveringly, he credits Reagan alone with the demise of Soviet Communism and the restoration of economic vitality at home, while he blames the media, Congress, and liberals for various shortcomings. Reagan fans will love this book, while critics may wonder what California does to produce the Reagan-Meese fantasy. Although a necessary memoir of the Reagan era, it needs to be balanced by Kevin Phillips's The Politics of Rich and Poor ( LJ 5/15/90). Previewed in ``On the Campaign Book Trail,'' LJ 3/15/ 92, p. 110-112 . -- William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ ., Shreveport
Booknews
The former attorney general documents Reagan's achievements as seen from his intimate vantage point. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Ronald Reagan's friend, confidant, and attorney general offers a lively and absorbing apologia for his old boss and his Administration. Many remember President Reagan as an amiable but disengaged man, uninterested and uninvolved in the details of governance, and view the Reagan era as a period of unredeemed promise—noting, e.g., that despite candidate Reagan's promises in 1980, today the federal bureaucracy is larger than ever and massive deficits threaten to paralyze the economy. Not so, says Meese. Instead, Reagan was a strong and decisive leader, and the Reagan years were a time of great achievement. Meese attributes the economic boom of the 1980's to the tax reform of the early Reagan years and argues that the Reagan Administration's assertion of American authority and influence in the world resulted in positive foreign-policy developments such as the collapse of Communism and the curtailing of Libyan terrorism. Meese also defends Reagan against charges that his budgetary proposals led to the expansion of federal budget deficits (entrenched federal bureaucracies and special interests, built-in spending increases in the budget, and ideological traitors like David Stockman were the real culprits, Meese explains). The author portrays Reagan as a decisive and intelligent leader, in contrast with the image of the President that often emerged in the press. Although readers may be skeptical of some of Meese's assertions (e.g., in regard to the Iran-contra affair, that "the conduct of the White House in carrying out the Iranian initiative was legal every step of the way"), Meese persuasively argues that Reagan attained many of his objectives and helped to effect pervasive changes inAmerican domestic and foreign affairs. Meese also offers historically valuable, and tantalizing, insights into the internal workings of the Reagan Administration and the Machiavellian world of Washington politics. A brisk and engrossing—if decidedly biased—memoir.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780736623667
Publisher:
Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date:
01/01/1993
Edition description:
Unabridged, 10 Cassettes

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