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.
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 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.
May 22nd, 2007
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Praise for The Reagan Diaries:
“Historians will treasure Doug Brinkley’s superbly edited version of President Reagan’s diaries for generations to come. In one remarkable entry after another, the president’s compelling voice, strength of character, and sunny personality come vividly to life.” — Doris Kearns Goodwin
“What these diaries now reveal is that Reagan was a man of great passion, great ideas, great anger, great ideology, great pragmatism, and great love…Whatever anyone thought they knew about Reagan, they will have to unlearn and then reeducate themselves by reading these diaries.” — Craig Shirley, The Weekly Standard
“These are amusing and enlightening diaries…I quite simply couldn’t put them down.” — Christopher Hitchens, The Times (London)
“It’s amazing what nuggets of information you can unearth deep with a book as jam-packed as The Reagan Diaries.” — Walter Pincus, The Washington Post
“This volume tells us more about Ronald Reagan than many of his biographies…Reagan may well be remembered as the most successful president of the 1968-2008 period.” — Ken Phillips, The New York Times Book Review
“Reading these diaries, Americans will find it easier to understand how Reagan did what he did for so long: by steady work and a steadfast commitment to the job at hand…They paint a portrait of a president who was engaged by his job and a had a healthy perspective on power.” — Jon Meacham, Newsweek
“The chief executive who emerges from these pages has a capacious attention to and knowledge of this country and the world….Two things run through the diaries like a thread:one is a kind of gee-whiz everyman’s delight in finding himself in such interesting and enjoyable circumstances; the other in his love for and reliance on Nancy.” — Tim Rutten, The Los Angeles Times
“As we move toward an in-depth assessment of the Reagan presidency based on a growing documentary record, The Reagan Diaries gives us a fresh look at the president’s daily activities and his decision making. The diaries will be a prime source for studying one of America’s more important presidents.” — Robert Dallek
“Delightful….The Reagan Diaries sheds fascinating light on the daily schedule and thinking of this president.” — The Christian Science Monitor
“Especially in this Era when presidents are cautioned to avoid making notes, it is illuminating to see how the world looked to Ronald Reagan through eight of the most eventful years in American history.” — Michael Beschloss
“All through these pages, we can hear that strength, that ringing confidence, that humor as time marches on through the Reagan presidency, 1981-1989….Each page is a parse of history: world leaders arrive and depart practically every day, Reagan himself travels widely and records his impressions, and almost every American politician of note appears in these pages, as well as a great many Hollywood celebrities.” — The New Orleans Times-Picayune
#1Hypnotic…Fascinating…Brinkley has done a service in reproducing the diaries’ mannerisms and solecisms intact.” — Los Angeles Magazine
“Reagan reveals some of his deepest thoughts and provides his insight on personalities and events of his presidency, and he often refers to his darling Nancy and his belief in God…The Book will be a valuable resource for historians and will furnish entertainment for any reader.” — The Oklahoman
“A useful book….The kind of work historians and policy makers will scrutinize for years to come.” — The Chicago Tribune
“Read the newly published The Reagan Diaries if you want a true insight in the mind of the nation’s fortieth president. The diaries – written daily from 1981 until President Reagan left office in 1989 — reveal him to be much more involved in the nitty-gritty of national and world affairs than many White House reporters thought…Reagan had something to say about everything and everybody…He comes across as deeper, funnier, more religious, and more humble than he seemed when he was striding across the world stage.” — Helen Thomas, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“It is only now, with the publications of his diaries, that we encounter a shrewd and watchful Reagan…In the diaries there is very much more on politics and every sort — Reagan was not at all above maneuvers high and low — and on all the large subjects of government…The diary is also full of fun.” — The Times Literary Supplement (London)