Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Reagan Diaries

My grandmother was the one that referred me to this book when it first came out. My grandfather had worked at the White House during Reagan's presidency. I have signed pictures and other miscellaneous Reagan memorabilia at home. After my grandmother told me about this book, I was intrigued. The Reagan Diaries were written by Ronald Reagan and edited by a historian. President Reagan kept a diary during his time in office and we now are able to get a personal glimpse into his day to day thoughts and personal activities that we may not have given to much thought to before. The book is about 784 pages but I happened to listen to it on CD and would recommend that as well. Here is a description of the book from online:

The diaries our 40th president kept while in office—edited and abridged by historian Brinkley (The Great Deluge)—are largely a straightforward political chronicle. Reagan describes meetings with heads of state and antiabortion leaders, reflects on legislative strategy and worries about leaks to the press. He often used his diary to vigorously defend his polices: for example, after a 1984 visit with South African archbishop Desmond Tutu (whom Reagan calls "na├»ve"), the president explained why his approach to apartheid—"quiet diplomacy"—was preferable to sanctions. Reagan sometimes seems uncomfortable with dissent, as when he is irked by a high school student who presents a petition advocating a nuclear freeze. And he often sees the media as a "lynch mob," trying to drum up scandal where there is none. Reagan's geniality shines through in his more quotidian comments: he muses regularly about how much he appreciates Nancy, and his complaints about hating Monday mornings make him seem quite like everyone else. Brinkley doesn't weigh down the text with extensive annotation; this makes for smooth reading, but those who don't remember the major political events of the 1980s will want to refer to the glossary of names. Reagan's diaries are revealing, and Brinkley has done historians and the broad public a great service by editing them for publication. (May 22) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (end quote)

I do believe in some parts, if I wasn't particularly in the mood to read it, it was hard to get through. I think it gives me a greater appreciation for the man and the life he lead. It's funny how things he talks about back then are still true today. I love how he calls the media the "lynch mob," so true. And I loved so many of his policies that seem like they would work now if anyone would think about history and doing what has worked in the past to help our current economic situation. I also enjoyed the way he would talk about his wife, Nancy. It was very sweet and beautiful in a simplistic way. Well if you like history I think you will enjoy this one, especially if you are a Reagan fan. This will not be a book club selection but I wanted to share it with you anyway. Happy reading!

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