Not since the 19th century has a United States president kept a diary through his entire White House tenure, and this volume tells us more about Ronald Reagan than many of his biographies. Besides which, not a few interpretive bits of gold are sprinkled amid the grit and gravel of diplomatic niceties, Congressional consultations and after-dinner entertainments.
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.<
Now you can read the diary Reagan kept daily over his two terms as President. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.