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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. Brought together in one volume and edited by historian Douglas Brinkley, "The Reagan Diaries" provides a 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. 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.


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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. Brought together in one volume and edited by historian Douglas Brinkley, "The Reagan Diaries" provides a 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. 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.

30 review for The Reagan Diaries

  1. 5 out of 5

    Robert A. Smith

    As you read page after page of this book, the evidence accumulates. Ronald Reagan was not a dunce. Or an empty headed actor. Or a cold-hearted politician. In fact his words and thoughts show him to be the polar opposite of the picture his critics drew. Reagan wrote these entries day after day over eight years time. And his words form an incredible body of evidence -- evidence that shows he was one of the most principled, spiritual, enlightened and yes, well-informed chief executives America's As you read page after page of this book, the evidence accumulates. Ronald Reagan was not a dunce. Or an empty headed actor. Or a cold-hearted politician. In fact his words and thoughts show him to be the polar opposite of the picture his critics drew. Reagan wrote these entries day after day over eight years time. And his words form an incredible body of evidence -- evidence that shows he was one of the most principled, spiritual, enlightened and yes, well-informed chief executives America's ever had. His grasp of details for treaties, bills, and congressional negotiations puts all those Saturday Night Live skits to shame. The man really had his pulse on what was happening. Yet he never rails at enemies, or ridicules his critics. The most facinating details are his calls to average citizens: Urging a poor woman to cash the check he wrote her (he promised to send the cancelled check as a souvenir). Finding a job for an unemployed man who saved several lives in a subway. Or making five calls from a golf course, trying to reach a man holding hostages in a nearby pro shop. And all this while staring down the Soviets and ending the cold war. What a man! We could use more like him in government. Thanks to his hand written-diaries, we know what Ronald Reagan was TRULY all about.

  2. 5 out of 5

    W

    Well,I tried to read it. But it was a tough task. Each and every mundane detail of his day was included.Now to wade through all that,and arrive at something actually important and interesting,would take more patience than I have. If they were going to publish it,why not do some serious editing and give it some sort of structure.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dan Myers

    Friday, I did something I never thought I would do in my life. I bought a book about Ronald Reagan. It was sort of an accident. I was just waiting in line at the bookstore and saw The Reagan Diaries sitting near the check out. I started flipping through it and I just couldn't put it down. The book is an edited version of the daily diaries Reagan kept while he was president. They're actually very short entries but he faithfully wrote nearly every day and you get a good sense of what was most Friday, I did something I never thought I would do in my life. I bought a book about Ronald Reagan. It was sort of an accident. I was just waiting in line at the bookstore and saw The Reagan Diaries sitting near the check out. I started flipping through it and I just couldn't put it down. The book is an edited version of the daily diaries Reagan kept while he was president. They're actually very short entries but he faithfully wrote nearly every day and you get a good sense of what was most salient in the life of the most powerful person on the planet. The Reagan years were extremely important to my own political development and it is absolutely fascinating to see some of the other side, the behind the scenes view of the guy who had the most to do with it. There is a lot revealed about the gipper and some really interesting contradictions--like he was clearly a lot smarter than he acted (although we already kinda knew that from Saturday Night Live!), but the blind spots are almost astonishing. His hatred of communism or anything associated with it is completely out-of-control. His instincts for political maneuvering is impressive, but he constantly dismisses such behavior by his opponents as "game playing." He is extremely insulated from all but a few people who opposed his ideas, spending almost all his time with supporters--part of the classic group-think recipe. And he has utter disdain for anyone who doesn't work within the institutionalized political system--protesters of any type are treated with complete contempt. Yet we also see a lot of the reasons he was called the great communicator, his appreciation for the personal touch in dealing with international affairs, and his absolutely thoroughgoing commitment to peace in the middle east. All that plus one other salient little fact: Reagan watched a helluva lot of movies while he was in the White House. I started to make a list, but I didn't have time to type it all up because I have a job! In the end, I have to give this book five stars (*****) because it is not only extremely entertaining reading, particularly if you remember living through the period, but also because it is an incredibly important book not only about Reagan, but also for the insights it produces into how our government and its leaders really work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shan

    My memories of Reagan are from when I was a kid. I mainly remember seeing him on TV. It wasn't until I got older and began to learn more about his presidency that I realized what a truly great man he was for how he led our nation to prosperity. Reading his diaries enabled me to get to know Reagan the man, not just Reagan the president. Reagan was very humble. He often worried about letting down the people of America. And he loved his wife. He wrote about her often and was open about his heartache My memories of Reagan are from when I was a kid. I mainly remember seeing him on TV. It wasn't until I got older and began to learn more about his presidency that I realized what a truly great man he was for how he led our nation to prosperity. Reading his diaries enabled me to get to know Reagan the man, not just Reagan the president. Reagan was very humble. He often worried about letting down the people of America. And he loved his wife. He wrote about her often and was open about his heartache when they weren't together. Reagan also wholehearted loved God and his country. He knew he was blessed to live in the freest, greatest nation in the world and he wanted to keep it that way. He looked to God for wisdom and direction. Funny. As I read through my description of the book and how it showed Reagan was humble, loved his country, and looked to God, I realize that Reagan was everything that Obama isn't and could never be. The Reagan Diaries goes a long way to show that Reagan was the greatest president in modern history, and we have a long way to go to have another leader like him.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Munson

    As a child of the 80s and an evil Republican, I was simply interested in learning about President Reagans side of what happened during his presidency. I'd forgotten what a turbulent time the 80's were from an international perspective. Surprisingly, Ive also learned a ton of practical lessons on leadership from this book. Want to inside of the head of a great leader? Pick up this book. Talk about a great example of never let them see you sweat! You can just about pick out an example of almost As a child of the 80’s and an evil Republican, I was simply interested in learning about President Reagan’s side of what happened during his presidency. I'd forgotten what a turbulent time the 80's were from an international perspective. Surprisingly, I’ve also learned a ton of practical lessons on leadership from this book. Want to inside of the head of a great leader? Pick up this book. Talk about a great example of “never let them see you sweat!” You can just about pick out an example of almost every theoretical management principle known to man. An interesting story about an interesting man. But more importantly, a great roadmap for anyone looking to observe the inner workings of a great leader.

  6. 4 out of 5

    srdjan

    Great historical document- you really come to appreciate that the job of president is essentially impossible. Every major event in the world somehow ends up on the President's desk, and everyone wants the President's time. You only get a real sense of how absurd that is after seeing the operating rhythm in such meticulous detail. Also, the book serves as a great summary of the politics and world events of the 1980's - with Gorbachev coming across as the man who really ended the Cold War - and Great historical document- you really come to appreciate that the job of president is essentially impossible. Every major event in the world somehow ends up on the President's desk, and everyone wants the President's time. You only get a real sense of how absurd that is after seeing the operating rhythm in such meticulous detail. Also, the book serves as a great summary of the politics and world events of the 1980's - with Gorbachev coming across as the man who really ended the Cold War - and with amazing speed. You also really appreciate how people are unaware of history as they live it- reading the book you'd think the MX missle was Ronald Reagan's legacy, whereas its barely a footnote. Reagan, the man, remains as inaccessible as ever throughout the 600+ pages. Its pretty obvious he is a decent guy: he forgives his would be assassin, he consistently expresses concern for people and writes of his distress with human suffering. But is that sentiment genuine? If anything the book helped me guage my cynicism, depending on the answer on any given day. Despite a document that traces every day of his life for eight years, though, there's no satisfaction. Seperating man from image is impossible. The book's ending captures his distance perfectly - "Then home & the start of a new life". No reflection, no attempt to make sense of it all - just off to the next adventure. Richard Nixon, perhaps a perfect contrast to Ronald Reagan, once said of Reagan - "He's just an uncomfortable man to be around -- strange." I can see why, Nixon, who was essentially an open book of ambition and calculation, was so puzzeled by mythical Reagan.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Those 80's! We lived 'em but here is an insider's view of what was going on in the political-cultural world to which most of us were oblivious. From the Illegal Air Traffic Controllers strike that paralyzed America to the shooting of Mr. Reagan, here is the man's own words on his leadership of the free world and the end of the USSR. Mr. Reagan writes of his frustrations and his friendships with the Democrat Leadership of the U.S. House; of his immense love for wife Nancy and his fatherly Those 80's! We lived 'em but here is an insider's view of what was going on in the political-cultural world to which most of us were oblivious. From the Illegal Air Traffic Controllers strike that paralyzed America to the shooting of Mr. Reagan, here is the man's own words on his leadership of the free world and the end of the USSR. Mr. Reagan writes of his frustrations and his friendships with the Democrat Leadership of the U.S. House; of his immense love for wife Nancy and his fatherly concern for children Ron, Michael and Patti; of his complete commitment to freedom in his life, his leadership and his country. Here are the words of a man who had the natural talent for leadership that was God-given and not purchased from the rack of books in the management section of a book store. Read the inside story, read the thoughts of a great president, read how leadership is practiced to make positive changes in the United States.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erwin

    mundane. heavily edited. it's interesting to see the summary of trivial issue and people that make their way to the presidents desk, but the truly important and interesting issues (trade policy, foreign policy, military/intelligence, and campaign strategy) are mostly edited away in this version. correlate this with the WSJ, FT, and some other major news sources of the time and you can put together an educated guess of what was edited out for "our own good"... if only I could make the time to do mundane. heavily edited. it's interesting to see the summary of trivial issue and people that make their way to the presidents desk, but the truly important and interesting issues (trade policy, foreign policy, military/intelligence, and campaign strategy) are mostly edited away in this version. correlate this with the WSJ, FT, and some other major news sources of the time and you can put together an educated guess of what was edited out for "our own good"... if only I could make the time to do that exercise in detail. like the stories of most presidents, seems that Regan was a nice man that cared much about his country and his supporters, but he certainly doesn't seem to be an abstract thinker, an intellectual, or even a fantastic strategist. for comparison, Nixon was consulted by EVERY president after him on foreign policy matters.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mortensen

    Each page offers forth an undeniable valuable piece of American and world history. President Reagan stood tall with an optimistic voice of freedom for the world. At times his words were strong, forceful and meaningful and at the other end of the spectrum he was known for some random quips and a casual smile. He was a man full of thought and compassion and the family color photos throughout the book are priceless. His diary portrays a constant pattern of rising early each morning. Out of respect Each page offers forth an undeniable valuable piece of American and world history. President Reagan stood tall with an optimistic voice of freedom for the world. At times his words were strong, forceful and meaningful and at the other end of the spectrum he was known for some random quips and a casual smile. He was a man full of thought and compassion and the family color photos throughout the book are priceless. His diary portrays a constant pattern of rising early each morning. Out of respect for the Oval Office he would always keep his suit jacket on and as the day wound down he would have an early dinner and don his pajamas. Ultimately the great world leader sought eternal peace through strength.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I'm so happy I finally finsihed this book! It wasn't a page turner for me, but very helpful in painting a picture of the 8 years Reagan was in the White House. He was a great president, and he looks even better when compared to Obama. Reagan was a true leader. Note: Once again, my opinion of the main stream media declines, as if it could get any lower. The principle of a free press/freedom of speech is so vital to a free nation, but it is frustrating that a large number of those in the profession I'm so happy I finally finsihed this book! It wasn't a page turner for me, but very helpful in painting a picture of the 8 years Reagan was in the White House. He was a great president, and he looks even better when compared to Obama. Reagan was a true leader. Note: Once again, my opinion of the main stream media declines, as if it could get any lower. The principle of a free press/freedom of speech is so vital to a free nation, but it is frustrating that a large number of those in the profession are so irresponsible and/or corrupted by greed, bitterness, power, etc., or are simply misguided.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Even though I am a great admirer of President Reagan, my expectations for this book was that it would be interesting, but a little bit dull. I mean, the daily diary of the chief executive of the U.S. - even though it was his responsibility to make world-changing decisions, how could a diary of eight years be a page-turner? I was pleased to find out that this book was hard to put down. All those years that many dismissed Reagan as an empty-headed actor that just read the script others wrote was Even though I am a great admirer of President Reagan, my expectations for this book was that it would be interesting, but a little bit dull. I mean, the daily diary of the chief executive of the U.S. - even though it was his responsibility to make world-changing decisions, how could a diary of eight years be a page-turner? I was pleased to find out that this book was hard to put down. All those years that many dismissed Reagan as an empty-headed actor that just read the script others wrote was proven wrong to me by this book. Reagan was a man that lived by his convictions and led this country and the world to a better place.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert White

    A long, long read ... and worth the effort for students (like me!) of leadership, politics and governance. Ronald Reagan wrote compellingly in his diary every day for the eight years of his Presidency. You get very clear insight into the man, his loves, his irritations, his thinking and his priciples. What was especially striking was his commitment to working the "other side of the aisle" to generate relationships and compromise. Like all Conservative Presidents, it's clear he didn't like the A long, long read ... and worth the effort for students (like me!) of leadership, politics and governance. Ronald Reagan wrote compellingly in his diary every day for the eight years of his Presidency. You get very clear insight into the man, his loves, his irritations, his thinking and his priciples. What was especially striking was his commitment to working the "other side of the aisle" to generate relationships and compromise. Like all Conservative Presidents, it's clear he didn't like the media very much but saw the necessity of dealing with them. Historian Brinkley does a great job of summarizing the trivial and leaving the "meat" of each entry.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bryce Rausch

    I think this book deserved probably 3 stars, I would think most might give it 2. The reason I gave it 4 was simple, it pulled me in. I found it very interesting and on several occasions found myself online trying to get more background on something discussed. A few thoughts on the book: Lots of mention on Iran Contra, seems like presidents spend much more time with Sec of State rather than VP's, you could tell he was an actor from his love of movies, he definitely cared about his wife, paid I think this book deserved probably 3 stars, I would think most might give it 2. The reason I gave it 4 was simple, it pulled me in. I found it very interesting and on several occasions found myself online trying to get more background on something discussed. A few thoughts on the book: Lots of mention on Iran Contra, seems like presidents spend much more time with Sec of State rather than VP's, you could tell he was an actor from his love of movies, he definitely cared about his wife, paid attention to the press, seemed very human which presidents rarely show.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Impressive look into the daily life of this President. While there were some that I skipped, Reagan was a dedicated leader. This diary gives a candid look into his thoughts, opinions and life as president; this is a great historical document.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Ronald Reagan was surely one of the great politicians of the latter 20th century. Love him or hate him, he defined the United States in the 1980s, sandwiched between the Carter and Bush single-administrations. While historians depict the 40th President differently, his daily diary offers a personal and in-depth picture of his thoughts throughout the eight years he occupied the White House. With the help of Brinkleys editing, the reader is treated to a detailed narrative about the political Ronald Reagan was surely one of the great politicians of the latter 20th century. Love him or hate him, he defined the United States in the 1980s, sandwiched between the Carter and Bush single-administrations. While historians depict the 40th President differently, his daily diary offers a personal and in-depth picture of his thoughts throughout the eight years he occupied the White House. With the help of Brinkley’s editing, the reader is treated to a detailed narrative about the political landscape from one of its key actors. Numerous themes emerge throughout, depicting the raw emotion and personal sentiment Reagan invested into the job. A must-read for any political junkie, especially one whose reliance on Reagan is strictly media-based. For any interested reader, a small warning that might serve as a useful preface to the book. The diary reads less as a fleshed-out political memoir and more a collection of sentences (sometimes in shorthand) relating to personal thoughts and feelings. The prose is choppy and the flow can be quite difficult to digest for the reader used formal writing. It can be hard to invest the true reading experience in this book, but patience and the ability to sift through the proffered information makes the diary one of great political and personal interest. Reagan argues, through his entries, that there is much more to the job than meets the eye. While much of the presidency is seen to be meetings with foreign heads of state, signing bills, and addresses to the nation, Reagan admits that his days were full of meetings and sometimes kept him on his feet from morning to night. The image of a president at work pales in comparison to the real goings-on within the White House and outside of its shelter. The diary is chalk-full of events and meetings that required Reagan’s attention, as well as plans for legislation, dealing with international incidents, and personal matters. While some of the major issues are well known to the public (warming of relations with USSR, battle against Communism in Central America, push for more transparency of government), the diary also illustrates some of the more painful and frustrating moments (dealing with Iran-Contra Affair, issues with members of staff/Cabinet, security issues that required covert attention by the US). The publically known tip of the iceberg is just that and the diary tries to shed light on it. Reagan also addresses his ongoing misinformation campaign waged against media sources. His relationship with the press was tepid at best. While his popularity was unusually high throughout most of his presidency, the press chose to vilify him and his actions. Reagan does not fret about this strain, choosing instead to toss his own set of insults directed at those who scorned him most. His somewhat arrogant comments, calling the press ‘communist sympathisers’, mirrors the banality found years later in the 43rd POTUS. That said, the reader’s eyes are surely opened a little more about what did go on behind closed doors. A true ideological clash between Reagan and media outlets existed and could not be mended with a simple acceptance of one by the other. Reagan was not free of fault and his diary does not skirt away from his foibles. His relationships with others were neither pristine or always long-lasting. Cabinet choices that eventually soured and befriending legislators who tried to pull the carpet out from under Reagan are not spared in the diary’s entries. There is significant discussion of the 1987 attempt to name a new Supreme Court justice saw Reagan’s choice in Robert Bork go down to resounding defeat. He did all he could, from the entries in the diary to push the nominee through the Senate, but it proved fruitless. Reagan’s other great political disaster ended up being the Iran Contra Affair, though Reagan denies any involvement at any point. Brinkley’s edit work and the redactions done by the National Security Council leave the reader to question whether these omitted parts could have included highly important information regarding his knowledge. Reagan’s image was besmirched over this, by media outlets, but his raw denial knowing anything about Oliver North’s testimony leave the reader to wonder who is ultimately telling the truth. Reagan was a man like any other, which flows through his sentimental entries throughout the diary. Reagan`s longing for Mommie (Nancy) when she is away personifies that he loved his wife and his family to the core, even when playing the role of the Leader of the Free World. His advanced age when entering the White House lends itself to some ailments other may not have to face and the diary makes mention of numerous medical procedures and operations for health scares. Reagan did not shy away from these, even the most personal. He does, however, remind the reader that his doctors found him as fit as someone twenty years his junior. Anyone with an interest in politics should take the time and read through this diary. It will take some getting used to, but once the reader adapts to the jilted flow, it becomes quite interesting to see just how things came to fruition. With some sobering tales about his life in the White House and scathing comments for his enemies (particularly Qaddafi, who became his Enemy #1 early on), the diary is priceless and highly entertaining. Well done Mister President and Mr. Brinkley. You captured a political era quite well for one who lived through it but was too young to remember the specifics. A great alternate perspective to eight years in Office, in a world where much of the mainstream media chose to paint you with such a negative brush. But I gotta ask, why the need for haircuts every 10 days or so?!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    President Reagan made notations in his diary every single day of his presidency, except perhaps for those days when he was hospitalized after being shot. He used writing to organize his thoughts and even wrote or edited most of his speeches. His true nature is revealed through his diary entries. He was not an intellectual giant, but he was a charismatic leader and a great orator. He brought people together and worked toward compromises and agreements. For instance, he will always be associated President Reagan made notations in his diary every single day of his presidency, except perhaps for those days when he was hospitalized after being shot. He used writing to organize his thoughts and even wrote or edited most of his speeches. His true nature is revealed through his diary entries. He was not an intellectual giant, but he was a charismatic leader and a great orator. He brought people together and worked toward compromises and agreements. For instance, he will always be associated with tearing down the Berlin Wall. The book is quite long - nearly 800 pages in the printed version, and requiring more than 10 hours to read in the Kindle version. Brinkley, the editor, painstakingly retained Reagan's original words, spelling errors and all, though chose to summarize a significant portion of the diary (probably 50%), rather than include a word-for-word rendition. The summarized info is shown in italics. Classified info has also been redacted (shown with square brackets in the text). I started off carefully reading every word, but by about half way through the book, I thought I'd never finish so decided to just skim the italicized text. This is not an autobiography. There is no historical analysis, no retelling of historic events, no summarization of the issues of the day. For instance, though the Iran-Contra affair is mentioned many, many times, you won't be able to piece together what actually happened by reading the diary entries. Perhaps Reagan was not a deep or introspective thinker, or perhaps he just knew that his diaries would become public at some point, and didn't want to get too personal. Here are some of my observations from the diary: He had a modest ego. Even the "Tear Down This Wall" speech in Berlin in 1987 is somewhat downplayed, though he did mention that the speech was warmly received. He had little respect for the press and believed they manipulated situations and chose what news to present; there are quite a few negative comments about Sam Donaldson in particular. He had a contentious relationship with Tip O'Neill. His devotion to Nancy was legendary and he mentioned her absence with longing every time she had to be away from him. He was proud of her work on the "Just Say No" campaign. He hobnobbed with the rich and famous, particularly Hollywood types. He loved to watch movies, even the oldies but goodies. He didn't care for R rated or smutty movies though. He didn't use swear words. He writes d--n and h--l in his diary, and never a mention of the F word at all. He was sensitive and touched by many of the people that he met with hardships, frequently commenting that he "puddled up". He made friends with some of the most important global figures of the day - Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Theresa. His main form of recreation was horseback riding and cutting down trees. He was inordinately proud of his physical condition, always reporting that he got a good report from his many physical exams. In Chapter 4 he wrote "I'm so healthy I had a hard time not acting smug." He was very concerned about his approval rating, and mentioned it frequently; though he wasn't always rated highly, his final polls in office gave him the highest rating of any president ever. He was photographed thousands of times while in office; "photo op" is probably the most commonly recurring appointment on his calendar He never did learn how to spell Gadaffi (leader of Libya); Quadhafy, Quadafy, Kadhafy, Qaddafi, Quadaffi, Quadafi were some of his attempts. He made history for 8 years, and strolling through his diary is a great reminder of the world changing events of the 1980's. On his last night in office he wrote "Tomorrow I stop being President." There's no way to know from his diary whether he was sad, excited or relieved at the end of his historic term in office. However, reading his diaries motivates me to look for a biography to fill in where his diary leaves off.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    Notables during Reagans presidency-freed Iranian hostages-Lebanese War-Russian bombing of Korean Airplane-El Salvador Civil War-Reagans son Ron was a spoiled little brat. He seemed to cause more trouble than the other Reagan kids-Grain Embargo-Reagan gets frustrated with George Will, Jack Kemp, Tip Oneil-Reagan spent alot of time writing or revising speeches-Press is just as biased and dishonest as it is today except Foxnews didn't exist-did anyone know there was a hostage situation in Oct 1983 Notables during Reagans presidency-freed Iranian hostages-Lebanese War-Russian bombing of Korean Airplane-El Salvador Civil War-Reagans son Ron was a spoiled little brat. He seemed to cause more trouble than the other Reagan kids-Grain Embargo-Reagan gets frustrated with George Will, Jack Kemp, Tip Oneil-Reagan spent alot of time writing or revising speeches-Press is just as biased and dishonest as it is today except Foxnews didn't exist-did anyone know there was a hostage situation in Oct 1983 while Reagan was in Augusta, GA? Me either.I know now-the weekend of Oct 22-23 1983 was busy for the president... The hostage situation, Grenada and the bombing in Beirut killing 100 marines supposedly by Iran-Gaddafi is an issue then and an issue now...-Patti is almost as bad as Ron Jr.-Environmentalists are a problem then as they are now-Interesting Reagan quote regarding nuclear reactors...”We have to get rid of excessive regulations to cut the building time on reactors now 12-14 years down to 5 to 7 as it using other countries.”-issues with unions...Guess history repeats itself... Will we ever learn? Scoop Jackson a senator during Reagan era says “In areas of national Security, the best politics are no politics” -Margaret Thatcher says “ The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money” -Jesse Jackson was mentioned a few times. He went to Lebanon and came back with a marine that had been held hostage. He went to Cuba and “returned with 40 odd prisoners Castro allowed him to bring home” You can tell Reagan didn't care for him but he did a few positive things. Finally son Michael is mentioned but it isn't good. Reagan thinks he has mental problems. --Maureen seems to be the closest to the Pres.-More hijackings...PLO based-Reagan did have cancerous polyps removed from his colon as well as carcinoma off his nose.-Reagan liked being Pres. He worked hard, established good relationships with his staff. He ate lunch with George Bush a lot.-Jack Kemp seems to always give Reagan a hard time. And I believe he is on his side. Interesting....One thing that is very obvious through this whole book is, Ronnie LOVES Nancy Whenever something bad happens in the US, Reagan cancels any activities he has saying "It wouldn't be seemly for me to be out socializing". Wish our current president thought that way...instead of playing golf. Thatcher and Reagan had a great relationship. I just read an article today in the Daily that expressed the same thing and compared it to Obama and Cameron who do not have a relationship even close to Reagan and Thatcher. It took me WEEKS to read this book. That is really the only negative. It was so long, I began to lose interest. I recommend reading Reagan’s biography by Edmund Morris and then reading this. This is very personal but the most notable moments are not really emphasized in this book. For example, the day when Reagan says “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall” is briefly mentioned as a speech he gave in front of thousands of people. I feel like I was in Reagan’s head for 8 years reading this. I think he liked being President. He worked hard and seemed to want to do the right thing. I am very glad I read this. It reminded me why I have become a Conservative Republican.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Smith

    This is a very good read. It is also detailed, covering 1981 through the last day Reagan was in office in January 1989 so it's over 700 pages. If you don't want that much detail, then you might want to get some type of chronology of the Reagan years and read entries for specific dates that are interesting to you (such as his reactions after he was shot, the Challenge accident, etc). Ronald Reagan kept a diary while he was in the White House and it reveals many things about the man. He loved This is a very good read. It is also detailed, covering 1981 through the last day Reagan was in office in January 1989 so it's over 700 pages. If you don't want that much detail, then you might want to get some type of chronology of the Reagan years and read entries for specific dates that are interesting to you (such as his reactions after he was shot, the Challenge accident, etc). Ronald Reagan kept a diary while he was in the White House and it reveals many things about the man. He loved Nancy greatly and was very dependent on her. Every time she leaves for a trip he talks about how lonely he is and how he hates to be apart from her. It shows a deeply religious man who prays and seeks God. It also shows a man well aware of what's going on in the country, the government and the world. Reagan is many times portrayed as someone who wasn't aware of everything going on and delegated a lot but in this book you can see Reagan's grasp of complex governmental administration and policies. The only personal thing in the book that stood out to me is when he watched the movie "9 to 5" with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. There's a scene in the movie where the ladies are smoking pot. He hated that and thought they should have been getting drunk. Be careful about judging this reaction. It is no surprise a man of his age would be anti-pot and back then getting drunk wasn't looked at as being bad. It was just something interesting in the book but there were lots of personal glimpses. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    Its really hard to figure out how many stars for this one. Im conflicted on so many levels. My goal has been to read (actually listen) one book by each president from my lifetime this year. I knew I was going to struggle with this one. Reagan was the president of my childhood and in that childhood the grandparents I adored were huge Reagan supporters. Naturally I thought the man hung the moon because they did. As a grown up i now see the big flaws of his presidency. Unfortunately reading his It’s really hard to figure out how many stars for this one. I’m conflicted on so many levels. My goal has been to read (actually listen) one book by each president from my lifetime this year. I knew I was going to struggle with this one. Reagan was the president of my childhood and in that childhood the grandparents I adored were huge Reagan supporters. Naturally I thought the man hung the moon because they did. As a grown up i now see the big flaws of his presidency. Unfortunately reading his actual diaries makes those flaws stand out even more. It was a tough book for me. Being in diary form, it was a much more honest book than a regular biography would have been. The Reagan I remember from 80’s television was charming and wise and a great leader. The Reagan on these pages is extremely needy for praise, absolutely handicapped with out his wife and resentful when she had to travel, an incredibly harsh critic of his kids, and often self righteous. He was also clearly in the beginning stages of his dementia even in his first term. The book is also an amazing first hand account of some huge history markers. I don’t not recommend the book, but I do offer a warning to along with it. While I do think he was an honest and well meaning man, I think he missed the mark on many key issues. If you are a Reagan lover read with the knowledge that he may fall from his pedestal a little.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Brownsey

    The Reagan diaries chronicle Ronald Reagan's two terms as President of the USA. I found parts of the book intriguing, especially his personal references to Nancy, which are clearly those of a man who very much loved, admired, and relied heavily on his wife. Reagan is no intellectual therefore these diaries are sometimes not particularly well written, nor are they very profound. Notwithstanding this I love the way Reagan recounts his days in much the same way as any of us would, the difference The Reagan diaries chronicle Ronald Reagan's two terms as President of the USA. I found parts of the book intriguing, especially his personal references to Nancy, which are clearly those of a man who very much loved, admired, and relied heavily on his wife. Reagan is no intellectual therefore these diaries are sometimes not particularly well written, nor are they very profound. Notwithstanding this I love the way Reagan recounts his days in much the same way as any of us would, the difference being the guys who "dropped by" to see RR were Kings, Prime Ministers and major celebrities. Reagan comes across as a brilliant relationship builder and a very warm and sensitive man. Unfortunately he does not instil confidence as a man capable of decision making in the most complex situations. Don't get me wrong, I believe Reagan was pivotal to ending the cold war but his ability to problem solve domestically was limited. Luckily for him he was blessed with a strong and generally loyal team who balanced his skills well. My favourite line in the book is "Getting shot hurts", a reference to the Hinckley shooting in 1981.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Waseem

    I like books on leadership and histories human who evidently have achieved great things in life, whether they be something we agree with or not, no doubt reagan would be worth studying, but my gosh this book was boring, i actually switched off after the first few chapters, maybe its beause of its 'diary' style, but i think some structure would have been helpful rather than just random quotes and narration of what his diaries said maybe its just me, and this isn't a fiar review, but i just I like books on leadership and histories human who evidently have achieved great things in life, whether they be something we agree with or not, no doubt reagan would be worth studying, but my gosh this book was boring, i actually switched off after the first few chapters, maybe its beause of its 'diary' style, but i think some structure would have been helpful rather than just random quotes and narration of what his diaries said maybe its just me, and this isn't a fiar review, but i just couldn't finish this book with no reason wanting to make you read on, and I guess I don't have any burning interest in Reagan himself besides perhaps an insight to what made him a man of influence, but this diary style of narration was testing my patience too much to have the will to finish it off Waseem Mirza http://www.WaseemMirza.net

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Wow what a great book. This really give you a feel for what was happening at the time. I have never been one for politics, but the diaries give you a sense that Regan was not only a great president, but a great man who just tried to do what was right each and every day. You really get a feel for his simple, common sense approach to governing as well as the charisma he seemed to take with him everywhere he went. Great book, I recommend it to anyone who really want to understand and appreciate the Wow what a great book. This really give you a feel for what was happening at the time. I have never been one for politics, but the diaries give you a sense that Regan was not only a great president, but a great man who just tried to do what was right each and every day. You really get a feel for his simple, common sense approach to governing as well as the charisma he seemed to take with him everywhere he went. Great book, I recommend it to anyone who really want to understand and appreciate the essence of one of the great world leaders of our time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    TheRose

    My rating isn't so much for the book as the subject. One needs to scan this book rather than reading - 75% boring stuff. However, the 25% interesting/exciting stuff makes it all worthwhile! What an amazing, wonderful, humble, hardworking, intelligent, courageous president he was! The humility was, for me, the most moving aspect of his character. I know he wasn't perfect, but he was the last of the great statesmen - they just don't make them like him anymore. He simply did his best, and that was My rating isn't so much for the book as the subject. One needs to scan this book rather than reading - 75% boring stuff. However, the 25% interesting/exciting stuff makes it all worthwhile! What an amazing, wonderful, humble, hardworking, intelligent, courageous president he was! The humility was, for me, the most moving aspect of his character. I know he wasn't perfect, but he was the last of the great statesmen - they just don't make them like him anymore. He simply did his best, and that was much better than anything anyone on capitol hill has come out with since.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Don Stanton

    In his own words he describes his transformation and re-transformation into the great man known as the Great Communicator. I am totally biased, as you might see, but I lived those times and would to God there arose another like him now. Often criticized by our own press, he restored the greatness of America in the eyes of the world including our own. As far as I am concerned, he belongs on Mt. Rushmore. In his own words he describes his transformation and re-transformation into the great man known as the “Great Communicator.” I am totally biased, as you might see, but I lived those times and would to God there arose another like him now. Often criticized by our own press, he restored the greatness of America in the eyes of the world including our own. As far as I am concerned, he belongs on Mt. Rushmore.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Derick Warner

    Contrary to popular opinion, this book has limited political rhetoric and really humanizes the position of President of the United States. I am a big fan of President Reagan, but this boom really proves that any president regardless of political association is still an individual doing what's best with the tools given to them. Would recommend this book to anyone interested in history, and political office.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dameon Huber

    An awesome insight in to Histories greatest President of modern times. You get to see what he thought of Legislation, certain people, things that happened around him, and his awesome wife! Everything he writes about Nancy reads as a love story!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Million

    Fascinating look at Reagan's presidency. It is fascinating to see his schedule on a daily basis - all of the meetings, visitors, talking to members of Congress and his cabinet, public appearances, and the never-ending travel schedule.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barbie

    Reagan's actual diaries. Parts omitted only when it could compromise security or were too personal. Pretty amazing to read, since the reader in some cases (like assassination attempt)know what's coming before he does!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Morse

    I really enjoyed this glimpse into the daily life of a president. Too short in some places, but the personal touches were what made it worthwhile.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Love revisiting this one.

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