Ronald Reagan is hailed today for a presidency that restored optimism to America, engendered years of economic prosperity, and helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet until now little attention has been paid to the role Reagan's personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling him to confront the brutal — and, not coincidentally, atheistic — Soviet empire.
In this groundbreaking book, political historian Paul Kengor draws upon Reagan's legacy of speeches and correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him well, to reveal a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life. Raised in the Disciples of Christ Church by a devout mother with a passionate missionary streak, Reagan embraced the church after reading a Christian novel at the age of eleven. A devoted Sunday-school teacher, he absorbed the church's model of "practical Christianity" and strived to achieve it in every stage of his life.
But it was in his lifelong battle against communism — first in Hollywood, then on the political stage — that Reagan's Christian beliefs had their most profound effect. Appalled by the religious repression and state-mandated atheism of Bolshevik Marxism, Reagan felt called by a sense of personal mission to confront the USSR. Inspired by influences as diverse as C.S. Lewis, Whittaker Chambers, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he waged an openly spiritual campaign against communism, insisting that religious freedom was the bedrock of personal liberty. "The source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual," he said in his Evil Empire address. "And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man."
From a church classroom in 1920s Dixon, Illinois, to his triumphant mission to Moscow in 1988, Ronald Reagan was both political leader and spiritual crusader. God and Ronald Reagan deepens immeasurably our understanding of how these twin missions shaped his presidency — and changed the world.
Jules Tygiel’s biography of Ronald Reagan engages students with the compelling story of the man who went from Hollywood actor to President of the United States. This balanced profile considers both the accomplishments and failures of Reagan’s presidency, as well as the contested legacy of his political career even after his death. Incorporating the latest scholarship, Ronald Reagan and the Triumph of American Conservatism examines Reagan both as an individual and in the larger context of the conservative movement.
The titles in the Library of American Biography Series make ideal supplements for American History Survey courses or other courses in American history where figures in history are explored. Paperback, brief, and inexpensive, each interpretative biography in this series focuses on a figure whose actions and ideas significantly influenced the course of American history and national life. In addition, each biography relates the life of its subject to the broader themes and developments of the times.
Hailed by the New Yorker as "a superlative study of a president and his presidency," Lou Cannon's President Reagan remains the definitive account of our most significant presidency in the last fifty years. Ronald Wilson Reagan, the first actor to be elected president, turned in the performance of a lifetime. But that performance concealed the complexities of the man, baffling most who came in contact with him. Who was the man behind the makeup? Only Lou Cannon, who covered Reagan through his political career, can tell us. The keenest Reagan-watcher of them all, he has been the only author to reveal the nature of a man both shrewd and oblivious. Based on hundreds of interviews with the president, the First Lady, and hundreds of the administration's major figures, President Reagan takes us behind the scenes of the Oval Office. Cannon leads us through all of Reagan's roles, from the affable cowboy to the self-styled family man; from the politician who denounced big government to the president who created the largest peace-time deficit; from the statesman who reviled the Soviet government to the Great Communicator who helped end the cold war.
Based on extraordinary research: a major reassessment of Ronald Reagan's lifelong crusade to dismantle the Soviet Empire–including shocking revelations about the liberal American politician who tried to collude with USSR to counter Reagan's efforts
Paul Kengor's God and Ronald Reagan made presidential historian Paul Kengor's name as one of the premier chroniclers of the life and career of the 40th president. Now, with The Crusader, Kengor returns with the one book about Reagan that has not been written: The story of his lifelong crusade against communism, and of his dogged–and ultimately triumphant–effort to overthrow the Soviet Union.
Drawing upon reams of newly declassified presidential papers, as well as untapped Soviet media archives and new interviews with key players, Kengor traces Reagan's efforts to target the Soviet Union from his days as governor of California to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of what he famously dubbed the "Evil Empire." The result is a major revision and enhancement of what historians are only beginning to realize: That Reagan not only wished for the collapse of communism, but had a deep and specific understanding of what it would take––and effected dozens of policy shifts that brought the USSR to its heels within a decade of his presidency.
The Crusader makes use of key sources from behind the Iron Curtain, including one key memo that implicates a major American liberal politician–still in office today–in a scheme to enlist Soviet premier Yuri Andropov to help defeat Reagan's 1984 reelection bid. Such new finds make The Crusader not just a work of extraordinary history, but a work of explosive revelation that will be debated as hotly in 2006 as Reagan's policies were in the 1980s.
The myth of Ronald Reagan's greatness has reached epic prosperous in recent years. The public rates him as one of the most popular presidents, and Republicans everywhere seek to cast themselves in his image. But award-winning journalist William Kleinknecht shows in this penetrating analysis of his presidency that the Reagan legacy has been devastating for the country-especially for the ordinary American he claimed to represent.
Boom-and-bust cycles, obscene CEO salaries, blackouts, drugs-company scandals, collapsing bridges, plummeting wages for working people, the flight of U.S. manufacturing abroad-these are all products of Reagan's free-market zealotry and his gutting of the public sector.
Kleinknecht takes us to Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Illinois, to show that he was anything but a friend to Main Street America. Relying on detailed factual analysis rather than opinion, The Man Sold the World is the first major work to explode the Reagan myth.
Collected by the Ronald Reagan Foundation, The Notes is a fascinating window into the mind of our fortieth president. While the #1 New York Times bestselling Reagan Diaries detailed daily life inside the Oval Office, The Notes encapsulates a lifetime of reflections on work, marriage, and family. Classic one-liners such as "Flattery is what makes husbands out of bachelors" and "Money may not buy friends, but it will help you to stay in contact with your children" shed light on the man known as the "Great Communicator," and a sampling of Reagan's favorite speeches, poems, and passages from literature reveal the writers and thinkers he turned to time and again for advice, inspiration, humor, and hope.
Historic, illuminating, and deeply captivating, The Notes is a remarkable collection of the thoughts of one of our most beloved presidents.
In this enlightening new look at one of our most successful, most popular, and least understood presidents, bestselling author and former Reagan aide Dinesh D'Souza shows how this "ordinary" man was able to transform the political landscape in a way that made a permanent impact on America and the world. Ronald Reagan is a thoughtful and honest assessment of how this underestimated president became a truly extraordinary leader.
No matter what else was going on in his life or where he was--travelling to make movies for G.E., in the California governor's office, at the White House, or on Air Force One, and sometimes even from across the room--Ronald Reagan wrote letters to Nancy Reagan, to express his love, thoughts, and feelings, and to stay in touch. Through letters and reflections, the characters, personalities, and private lives of a president and his first lady are revealed. Nancy Reagan comments on the letters and writes with love and insight about her husband and the many phases of their life together.
About the Authors:
Ronald and Nancy Reagan were America's president and first lady from 1981 to 1989.
Nancy Reagan was born in New York, was raised in Chicago, and attended Smith College. During the summers before graduation, she worked in summer-stock theater productions. In New York, she appeared on Broadway, including in Lute Song with Mary Martin. She was signed by MGM, and she made eight motion pictures for the studio before leaving to marry Ronald Reagan. She is the author of a memoir, My Turn.
From the Author of Forest Gump
Ronald Reagan: Our 40th President
He was one of America’s true greats. As president, he changed the world, developing a successful strategy for defeating Communism, toppling the Soviet Union, and liberating Eastern Europe (while hardly firing a shot). And just as important, he restored an America that had found itself mired in a malaise of falling living standards, moral decay, and what seemed like inevitable decline.
Though he was our oldest president, Reagan acted as a tonic, rejuvenating America’s economy, restoring her confidence, and attracting a majority of young voters won over by his vision of making America once again a shining city on a hill.
In this superlative biography for young adults, bestselling author Winston Groom—author of Forrest Gump—gives us the full Reagan, from his Midwestern American boyhood, to his early career as a radio sports announcer, to his days as a Hollywood star and his extraordinary political career as a union leader, governor of California, and president of the United States.
Covering the gamut of Reagan’s dramatic life, Ronald Reagan: Our 40th President is essential reading, as inspiring as its subject.
Public opinion polls, Ronald Reagan is the most popular of modern presidents, and yet to most biographers the man is still an enigma. This is because, as Brown explains, few have ever focused on this great man's faith. This book explores the life and personality of Ronald Reagan by focusing on his deep-felt Christian beliefs and showing how faith guided him along his distinguished career and led him to his unprecedented success. With the support of Ronald Reagan's own words and writings and firsthand interviews with Ronald Reagan's family, friends, and co-workers, Brown weaves a magnificent story of Reagan's strong devotion to God that will not only inspire Christians to enter public service and allow their faith to motivate all their actions but also help point others to the Cross of Jesus Christ-a cause that was near and dear to President Reagan's heart.
No one has ever captured Ronald Reagan like Peggy Noonan. In When Character Was King, Noonan brings her own reflections on Reagan to bear as well as new stories—from Presidents George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush, his Secret Service men and White House colleagues, his wife, his daughter Patti Davis, and his close friends—to reveal the true nature of a man even his opponents now view as a maker of big history. Marked by incisive wit and elegant prose, When Character Was King will both enlighten and move readers. It may well be the last word on Ronald Reagan, not only as a leader but as a man.
The only biography ever authorized by a sitting President—yet written with complete interpretive freedom—Dutch is as revolutionary in method as it is formidable in scholarship. Thirteen years of exhaustive research in the archives of Washington and Hollywood, and thousands of hours of interviews with the President and his family, friends, allies, and enemies, equipped Morris with an unmatched knowledge of one of the twentieth century's greatest leaders. This monumental work offers the most insightful and elegant portrait to date of Ronald Reagan: the young "Dutch," the middle-aged Cold Warrior, and the septuagenarian Chief Executive. Written with imagination, yet always anchored by the weight of research and fact, Dutch stands as both a landmark in the form of biography and an unparalleled historical account of the rise and rule of Ronald Reagan.
Bringing to light previously secret information obtained from archives in the United States, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Russia—including Reagan’s KGB file—Schweizer offers a compelling case that Reagan personally mapped out and directed his war against communism, often disagreeing with experts and advisers. An essential book for understanding the Cold War, Reagan’s War should be read by open-minded readers across the political spectrum.
A Janet Maslin (New York Times) Top 10 Pick for 2011
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011
A Richmond Times Dispatch Top Book for 2011
A minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary
On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, wounding the president, press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a D.C. police officer. For years, few people knew the truth about how close the president came to dying, and no one has ever written a detailed narrative of that harrowing day. Now, drawing on exclusive new interviews and never-before-seen documents, photos, and videos, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis that it had experienced less than twenty years before, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
With cinematic clarity, we see Secret Service agent Jerry Parr, whose fast reflexes saved the president's life; the brilliant surgeons who operated on Reagan as he was losing half his blood; and the small group of White House officials frantically trying to determine whether the country was under attack. Most especially, we encounter the man code-named "Rawhide," a leader of uncommon grace who inspired affection and awe in everyone who worked with him.
Ronald Reagan was the only serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.* Rawhide Down is the first true record of the day and events that literally shaped Reagan's presidency and sealed his image in the modern American political firmament.
*There have been many assassination attempts on U.S. presidents, four of which were successful: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. President Theodore Roosevelt was injured in an assassination attempt after leaving office.
In Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Paul Lettow explores the depth and sophistication of President Ronald Reagan’s commitment to ridding humankind permanently of the threat of nuclear war.
Lettow’s narrative spans the start of Reagan’s presidency and the 1986 Reykjavík summit between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, during which America’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a defining issue. Lettow reveals SDI for what it was: a full-on assault against nuclear weapons waged as much through policy as through ideology. While cabinet members and advisers played significant roles in guiding American defense policy, it was Reagan himself who presided over every element, large and small, of this paradigm shift in U.S. diplomacy.
Lettow conducted interviews with several former Reagan administration officials, and he draws upon the vast body of declassified security documents from the Reagan presidency; much of what he quotes from these documents appears publicly here for the first time. The result is the first major work to apply such evidence to the study of SDI and superpower diplomacy. This is a survey that doesn’t merely add nuance to the existing record, but revises our very understanding of the Reagan presidency.
As a young speechwriter in the Reagan White House, Peter Robinson was responsible for the celebrated "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" speech. He was also one of a core group of writers who became informal experts on Reagan — watching his every move, absorbing not just his political positions, but his personality, manner, and the way he carried himself. In How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, Robinson draws on journal entries from his days at the White House, as well as interviews with those who knew the president best, to reveal ten life lessons he learned from the fortieth president — a great yet ordinary man who touched the individuals around him as surely as he did his millions of admirers around the world.
"It is morning again in America," Reagan's campaign commercials told us, and for too long we embraced that convenient lie. Indeed, the problems that came to plague us in that decade are with us even more today, as Johnson memorably demonstrates in—his afterword, "Notes on an Era," written especially for this new paperback reissue. This book will remain a signature work of political analysis for years to come.
A warm, intimate portrait of President Ronald Reagan by his confidant and friend of over 35 years.
Former aide and long-time family friend Michael Deaver first met Ronald Reagan during his 1966 campaign for governor of California and later served him in Sacramento and Washington, DC, as the president's deputy chief of staff. In A Different Drummer, Reagan emerges as charismatic and unwaveringly optimistic, a devoted husband and dedicated leader, disciplined and tough. As Deaver points out in his introduction, 'worked eight years doing the toughest job on earth; criss-crossed the world; and survived an assassin's bullet, a devastating riding accident, cancer, and brain surgery all after he turned seventy.'
Deaver also shares the lows, including the tough times that would test the strength of their friendship. Finally, he shares a look at Reagan today as he battles Alzheimer's disease. It is Nancy Reagan's finest hour, Deaver writes, a validation of the greatest love story he has ever known.