The Reagan Diaries, Volume 1

Front Cover
HarperCollins Canada, Limited, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 1184 pages
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During his two terms as the fortieth president of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary in which he recorded, by hand, his innermost thoughts and observations on the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine day-to-day occurrences of his presidency. Now, nearly two decades after he left office, this remarkable record—the only daily presidential diary in American history—is available for the first time.

Brought together in one volume and edited by historian Douglas Brinkley, The Reagan Diaries provides a striking insight into one of this nation's most important presidencies and sheds new light on the character of a true American leader. Whether he was in his White House residence study or aboard Air Force One, each night Reagan wrote about the events of his day, which often included his relationships with other world leaders Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II, Mohammar al-Qaddafi, and Margaret Thatcher, among others, and the unforgettable moments that defined the era—from his first inauguration to the end of the Cold War, the Iran hostage crisis to John Hinckley Jr.'s assassination attempt.

The Reagan Diaries reveals more than just Reagan's political experiences: many entries are concerned with the president's private thoughts and feelings—his love and devotion for Nancy Reagan and their family, his belief in God and the power of prayer. Seldom before has the American public been given access to the unfiltered experiences and opinions of a president in his own words, from Reagan's description of near-drowning at the home of Hollywood friend Claudette Colbert to his determination to fight Fidel Castro at every turn and keep the Caribbean Sea from becoming a "Red Lake."

To read these diaries—filled with Reagan's trademark wit, sharp intelligence, and humor—is to gain a unique understanding of one of the most beloved occupants of the Oval Office in our nation's history.

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About the author (2009)

Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois on February 6, 1911. He worked his way through Eureka College, where he studied economics and sociology. After graduation, he became a radio sports announcer for WOC, a small radio station in Davenport, Iowa. Reagan enlisted in the Army Reserve. An agent for Warner Brothers "discovered" him in Los Angeles in 1937 and offered him a seven-year contract. He played George Gipp in his most acclaimed film, "Knute Rockne -- All American" in 1940. In 1942, the Army Air Force called him to active duty and assigned him to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California, where he made over 400 training films. On December 9, 1945, he was discharged. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films. As president of the Screen Actors Guild, he became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry and his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966, he was elected Governor of California and was re-elected in 1970. For several months after his gubernatorial term ended in 1974, he wrote a syndicated newspaper column and provided commentaries on radio stations across the country. On November 20, 1975, Reagan announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. He lost the party's nomination, but his showing laid the groundwork for the 1980 election. After winning the party's nomination in 1980, he chose George Bush as his running mate. Reagan won the election and was President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression. In 1994, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died on June 5, 2004.

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