#1 New York Times Bestseller
“Reading these diaries, Americans will find it easier to understand how Reagan did what he did for so long . . . They paint a portrait of a president who was engaged by his job and had a healthy perspective on power.”
—Jon Meacham, Newsweek
During his two terms as the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary in which he recorded his innermost thoughts and observations on the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine occurrences of his presidency. To read these diaries—now compiled into one volume by noted historian Douglas Brinkley and filled with Reagan’s trademark wit, sharp intelligence, and humor—is to gain a unique understanding of one of our nation’s most fascinating leaders.
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).
This book provides a fascinating inside view of the daily life of President Reagan, along with a great perspective on his love for the US and his high moral standards. Through Reagan's daily writings, the reader quickly develops an understanding of the character and inner nature of this extraordinary man. Some of the adjectives I would use are considerate, kind, firm in his beliefs, honorable, strong of faith, respectful, loyal, visionary leader, loving to his wife, gracious, lover of freedom and his country, lover of people, open, forthright, and honest. I could see his disappointment, and sometimes outrage, when politicians and the media knowingly distorted or outright lied about events during his presidency. This book allows his true nature to shine through. His actions were guided by his beliefs and morals, not cynical political maneuvering or calculated political gain. The attempt on his life, and his subsequent recovery from a gunshot wound, was fascinating to read about. I finished the book wishing that I had had the opportunity to meet him in person. He was one of a kind and a true leader. Highly recommended.