Kiron K. Skinner Reagan, in His Own Hand

ISBN 13: 9780786234295

Reagan, in His Own Hand

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9780786234295: Reagan, in His Own Hand

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Even those who knew Ronald Reagan best were largely unaware of the extent of his original writings. An inveterate writer, he produced not only letters, short fiction, poetry and sports stories, but speeches, newspaper articles, and radio commentary on public policy issues both foreign and domestic. Here is definitive proof that Reagan was very much the author of his own ideas, with a single vision that he pursued relentlessly at home and abroad. This volume presents that vision through writings selected from throughout his life.

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Review:

A top advisor to Ronald Reagan once remarked of his boss: "He knows so little and accomplishes so much." Reagan, in His Own Hand will show that the 40th president knew far more than some people have given him credit for. It collects Reagan's recently discovered writings from the late 1970s, when he delivered more than a thousand radio addresses. He wrote about two-thirds of these himself, in longhand on yellow legal paper. "In writing these daily essays on almost every national policy issue during the 1970s, Reagan was acting as a one-man think tank," suggest the editors. This edition reproduces everything faithfully, right down to the spelling mistakes and crossed-out words. And it offers a compelling look at the ideas and principles that animated one of the most important Americans of the 20th century. In one address, Reagan describes his contribution to a time capsule:

I wrote of the problems we face here in 1976--The choice we face between continuing the policies of the last 40 yrs. that have led to bigger & bigger govt, less & less liberty, redistribution of earnings through confiscatory taxation or trying to get back on the original course set for us by the Founding Fathers.... On the international scene two great superpowers face each other with nuclear missiles at the ready--poised to bring Armageddon to the world.
Often his rhetoric is admirably forthright: "Calling a communist a liar when he is one is pretty frustrating. How do you insult a pig by calling it a pig?.... Fidel Castro is a liar." And there are frequent glimpses of his later achievements, such as the foreshadowing of his desire to build the Strategic Defense Initiative: "If the Soviets should push the button our magnificent warning system would immediately detect the launch of their missiles.... But there is no defense against them--no way to prevent nuclear devastation of their targets here in the U.S."

The bulk of the book comprises these radio addresses, but a concluding section includes everything from a short story Reagan wrote as a school assignment when he was 14 (it earned him a B+) to his memorable letter in 1994 revealing his Alzheimer's disease. This book will enthrall Reagan's devotees, and even his toughest critics will concede he had a way with words. No wonder they called him "The Great Communicator." --John J. Miller

About the Author:

Kiron K. Skinner (center) is an assistant professor of history and political science at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Hoover Institution research fellow. She is also a Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and National Interest. She earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University.

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Kiron K. Skinner
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