President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

President Reagan The Role of a Lifetime 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 yea

  • Title: President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
  • Author: Lou Cannon
  • ISBN: 9781891620911
  • Page: 199
  • Format: Paperback
  • President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

    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, bafflHailed 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.

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    One thought on “President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

    1. Daniel

      Lou Cannon's PRESIDENT REAGAN is probably my favorite of its kind: the insider-y, journalist's post-mortem on a recent presidency (a la THE SURVIVOR by John Harris and DAYS OF FIRE by Peter Baker). Originally published in 1991, it's very much worth reading today. Reagan is still very much present in the public imagination, and he is often distorted as Republicans seek in his legacy the precedent for whatever position they want to hold next. For example, Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher re [...]

    2. Aaron Million

      Lou Cannon is and has been one of the foremost experts on Ronald Reagan's life and presidency. While this book is primarily about Reagan's time in the White House (or at his California ranch), Cannon begins with a long look at Reagan's upbringing, background, personality, and relationships with others. Cannon was in a unique position to view Reagan as he happened to cover him in Sacramento while he was Governor of California from 1967-1974, but was then assigned to the Washington Post throughout [...]

    3. LawyersGunsAndMoney

      Cannon spends the first 150 pages trying his hardest to paint Reagan as a lazy, unintelligent, uninterested doofus, and embarrasses himself over the remaining 600 pages as he tries to maintain that image of Reagan while reporting about his many and monumental triumphs in office. Of course Cannon does his best to avoid this by laboring far too long on Lebanon and Iran, while breezing through the Cold War and the greatest economic boom in our nation’s history. This book says far more about Canno [...]

    4. Marc

      I read this book because it was on Obama's summer reading list back in 2011 when he was having a hard time dealing with a republican controlled congress and he wanted to know how Reagan worked with the democrats in the 80's.Lou Cannon covered Reagan from his time as governor of California and for the Washington Post during the White House years. Needless to say he knows the man very well. Reagan lovers seems to dislike that book because Cannon focuses a lot on Reagan's flaws as a politician. We [...]

    5. David Simonetti

      This is a well done biography about one of the 20th Centuries most significant presidencies. Cannon does not sugercoat his dialogue about Reagan. As a consequence, this provides an objective view of this President, who the far radical left tried to demonize since he was so successful in reversing the New Deal and Great Society Policies they championed for 60 years. If any one is interested in getting the real story about Reagan (both his flaws and merits), this is a useful book.

    6. Hugh Heinsohn

      Comprehensive historical account of Reagan's eight years in the presidency by a reporter who knew him well and had been following his career since 1966. Fairly told with plenty of stories to make any Reagan fan happy as well as a clear-eyed look at his failures. Cannon had one on one access to Ron and Nancy while he was writing the book, as well as nearly all the other major players. Some of the supporting cast definitely comes across as much more competent and professional than others, which ji [...]

    7. Brian Schwartz

      I have more historical insight now than Cannon had 20 years ago when he wrote this book. Iran-Contra had very little effect on American foreins in the Middle East heated up. It was a policy blunder of the highest magnitude. But its effect on the nation and the world was negligible. As I stated earlier, Reagan started his presidency with a strong team within his executive office that balanced out what was a weak cabinet. Baker was a masterful chief of staff who ran the White House staff with effi [...]

    8. Todd Stockslager

      Cannon covers Ronald Reagan in his last starring role in this heavy biography of the man and survey history of his time as President. It is an effective followup (though written earlier!) to "Governor Reagan", which I also review here.Cannon has a great feel for the man, spending the first third of the book laying out Reagan's personality, psyche, and personal history before turning to application of what we learned about Reagan the man into how he performed his greatest role. And Cannon is most [...]

    9. Jimyanni

      If you truly despise Ronald Reagan, or if you believe that he is one of the greatest presidents in our country's history, you will probably be dissatisfied with this book. In either case, it will not provide support for your preconceived notions. But if you want a good, balanced, fair biography of Ronald Reagan, one that goes into his life and especially his presidency in great depth, gives credit where credit is due and does not restrain itself from offering blame where that is due, this is a g [...]

    10. Grindy Stone

      This is in the top tier of books about the Reagan administration (though "Veil" and "Landslide" are better when it comes to discrete portions of the presidency). It works because it's also a bit of a memoir of Lou Cannon's time spent covering Ronald Reagan. Book is a bit of a perspective shifter for me - my opinion before reading it was that Reagan was one of the worst presidents of the last century (though in recent months he has been lapped), because you had no idea who was minding the store. [...]

    11. George

      A detailed study of events of the Reagan presidency, linked to a thorough look at the president's psychological makeup. Although basically sympathetic to Reagan, the author does not hesitate to explore thoroughly the frequent failures of his years in the White House.

    12. James Korsmo

      Ronald Reagan is well known as the "Great Communicator." And there has never been any doubt that he could deliver a great speech. From his rise to national prominence with a speech for Barry Goldwater in 1968 to his debate performances against George Bush and later Jimmy Carter to his oval office speeches and Presidential addresses abroad, Reagan had a clear stage presence. And he appreciated the "role" and pageantry of the office of the President. Lou Cannon, in President Reagan: The Role of a [...]

    13. Jim

      I wanted a good review of Reagan's presidency and this book was exactly that. It is really clear that Reagan was profoundly ignorant of most aspects of government and policy. He wanted to cut taxes, cut the size of government, spend money on the military, and come up with a way to end mutual assured destruction. He also wanted to turn the environment entirely over to private enterprise and appoint conservative judges. He didn’t know any practical specifics about these topics prior to being car [...]

    14. Terence

      Honestly at points I wondered if Lou Cannon had been personally insulted by Reagan. His comments and assessments were that one-sided at times. Referring to him as a child among other things.Generally I found 5 phases to the book:1. Reagan is nothing more than an actor with a script. The first 20% of the book makes this point over and over, and many different ways. Portraying Reagan as a two-dimensional character that was a spokesman for his team more than a president.2. Explaining the landslide [...]

    15. Fred Kohn

      When a frustrated reader came across the line, "Mondale carefully mingled praise of Reagan with his attack, giving the impression that he was being fair to the president even while he was saying that he was not up to the job," he or she couldn't resist underlining it and scribbling in the margin: "Just like Lou Cannon in writing this book." Normally I get quite annoyed when people write in library books, but I'll make an exception in this case. I, too was shocked at the negative portrayal of Rea [...]

    16. John

      Amazing and shocking bio by a reporter who followed Reagan throughout his political career. Amazing because it is an excellent, rigorous examination of Reagan and his political philosophy. Shocking because Cannon exposes him as shallow, ignorant and devious as many suspected and as world leaders knew. The title truly says it all; according to Cannon Reagan thought of politics as acting. And why not? Reagan found great popularity in presenting a Fantasist America where if not perfect, could be pe [...]

    17. Tom Auclair

      Interesting portrait of Reagan, showing his strengths (personality and being able to tell a good anecdote) and weaknesses (facts and details). People who like Reagan will certainly find much to like in this exhaustive biography, while those who doubted the "Reagan Miracle" will also find plenty of ammunition. Most disturbing: Reagan's inability, at times, to know the difference between movie parts/stories he heard and things that actually happened.This is a truer picture of a man who has become [...]

    18. John Harder

      Though he goes beyond this narrow perspective Lou Cannon largely takes the perspective that Reagan’s worldview was shaped by his movie roles and personal experiences. Further, he confused reality with the movies. Essentially Reagan was a bumbling oaf. As the book progresses Cannon becomes a bit more balanced, perhaps this was by necessity since this oaf kept on succeeding in everything he focused on (except for Iran-Contra).This is not a biography of a life, rather a chronicling of a presidenc [...]

    19. Jill

      Cannon's account of the Reagan presidency is quite thorough and quite compelling. At times the larger narrative gets swallowed up in somewhat procedural minutia, but that is really my only complaint about the book. Cannon does a nice job of moving from the concerns surrounding a particular issue to addressing the larger effect on Reagan's legacy. I particularly enjoyed the final chapter, which focuses exclusively on the (contradictory) legacy of Reagan's presidency.Read this book if you're inter [...]

    20. Peter

      My favorite line of the book is in the Preface to the 2000 Edition, when Lou Cannon tells the reader "This revised version" of the mainstream media's favorite Reagan biography addresses "aspects of Reagan's legacy that were not apparent when the book was published in 1991." Like, for instance, the fact that Reagan turned out to be the best president of my lifetime. Every addition is positive, all the Reagan-as-putz descriptions are in the original. It's a shame Cannon couldn't rewrite "President [...]

    21. Petero

      I am surprised this biography has received so much praise. Yes, the author had unsurpassed access to RR. But, the book is quite cluttered. He repeats the same points over and over while viewing Reagan's presidency through different lens. I wonder if I would have appreciated the book more had I read it much closer to the events.It is amazing that Reagan is seen by many people as one of the greatest presidents the U.S. has had.What little success he had, he stumbled into. Had he stumbled into anot [...]

    22. Chris

      If you want to feel optimistic about surviving the Bush era, read this book. It is a miracle that America survived the Reagan years! It covers everything from Reagan's cluelessness to the conflicts between James Baker and the California cabal, from Donald Regan's attempt to be co-President to of course Nancy's astrology fixation.

    23. Andrew Jones

      Well written, if a bit overlong, Cannon's account of Reagan lacks the benefit of 25 years of hindsight and overemphasizes certain events (such as Iran-Contra) that, with that hindsight, appear less important than the Gipper's significant achievements. Given the diversity and quality of more recent Reagan biographies, I cannot recommend this one.

    24. Rich Deleo

      I admired President Reagan and think he was the greatest President in the past 75 years. This book was overly influenced by Lou Cannon 's media pals. That said, he did provide some great " inside baseball" stories and perspectives.

    25. Chad Lamb

      A very comprehensive study of Reagan's presidency and leadership style. Cannon really understands his subject having covered him for years as a journalist when Reagan was governor of California and President of the United States. A long book but well-written and entertaining.

    26. Jack

      Best book on Reagan's presidency by a long stretch. In fact, best book on a modern presidency. Cannon, unlike Reagan haters and conservative revisionists, is fair and thorough. Those who love and hate Reagan will find plenty to support their beliefs, and plenty to make them unhappy.

    27. Dale

      Lou Cannon knew & followed Ronald Reagan politically for thirty years. There was substantially more depth to Reagan than what you read in the newspapers and saw reported on TV.

    28. Bruce

      Excellent book about the Reagan, his history and presidency. It also has a good critique of the Carter Administration.

    29. Mary

      Interesting, but not the chronological account of his two terms that I was looking for and much too redundant with the information that was included.

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