Reagan : a life in letters /
edited, with an introduction and commentary by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, Martin Anderson ; with a foreword by George P. Shultz.
New York : Free Press, c2003.
xx, 934 p.
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Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-08-18:
Hoover Institution fellows Skinner and the Andersons (all editors of the bestselling Reagan, n His Own Hand) use a carefully arranged and astutely annotated sampling from Reagan's lifetime of correspondence to narrate the arc of "the great communicator" 's life. Always charming, always unassuming, always genuine, Reagan's letters tell the story of his family, his health, his Hollywood and political careers, and his evolution as a political thinker with an authority (and a charm) no other documents can. Reagan regularly corresponded with friends, movie business colleagues, fellow politicians and conservative allies, as well as with simple fans. To William Buckley in 1984: "the Middle East is a complicated place-well not really a place, it's more a state of mind." To Mickey Rooney, from the Oval Office, in 1985: "I'll bet you don't remember the first time we met. The year was 1937... I was new in Hollywood living in the Montecito apartments. Someone had run over a dog in the street outside. You came in to look for a phone book so you could find the nearest veterinarian and take the dog.... I figured this had to be a nice guy." The book includes more than 1,000 letters (some to unknowns, others to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, George Bush Sr., Dr. Spock, Joseph Coors, Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher), fewer than 25 of them previously published. Taken together, they provide remarkable and otherwise unobtainable insight into a singularly important and fascinating American life: "Dutch" up close and personal. (Sept. 23) Forecast: This is a potential bestseller, along with the shorter Dear Americans: Letters from the Desk of Ronald Reagan (Forecasts, Aug. 11). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-09-01:
As additional material in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library becomes available, it is likely that many books claiming to present the "real" man will be published. But few things reveal more about an individual's thoughts, values, and character than his letters, and Ronald Reagan wrote more than 10,000, some as short as a single paragraph, others as long as several pages. Thousands are printed in these two books, many for the first time. Both communicate the former President's delight at having the opportunity to correspond with people from all walks of life, as well as demonstrate the same humor, optimism, and concern for people's feelings that the public saw on a daily basis. Close readings also expose Reagan's sometimes simplistic understanding and selective memory of significant domestic and foreign policy issues. For Reagan, the larger as well as the stronger collection, Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson (editors, Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan) arranged more than 1000 letters topically with headings such as "Home and Family," "Governorship," "Economic Policy," "Core Beliefs," and "Foreign Leaders." Most letters are accompanied by brief notes that place the letter in context, and several are footnoted. Spelling errors are retained. [Conservative Book Club main selection.] Weber (military history, emeritus, Marquette Univ.) has organized Dear Americans chronologically and includes only personally handwritten letters to constituents during Reagan's eight years in office. Brief introductory notes identifying the recipient and the purpose of the letter precede most of the correspondence. Misspellings have been corrected. Reagan is recommended for all libraries, while Dear Americans for libraries with limited budgets.-Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2004-03-01:
This volume consists of a sampling of the former president's copious outpouring of personal letters, from his childhood to the onset of Alzheimer's after the presidency. The editors (who with the acknowledged help of Nancy Reagan have already published three other volumes of Reagan's writings) arrange the letters thematically, introduce each chapter with a brief commentary, and introduce each letter with a sentence or two of explanation. The editors have done an admirable job in compiling these documents. Their commentary is exactly as it might have been had Ronald Reagan been able to produce this volume himself. At times, the consequent lack of objectivity is only a minor annoyance, as in the harsh editorial treatment of Reagan's first wife, Jane Wyman. At other times, the editorial slant is more subtle, and scholarly users of this volume will need to exercise appropriate caution. General readers with a fondness for the former president will surely enjoy reading these letters, which are often sweet, and always thoroughly democratic, the author putting himself on a first-name basis with almost all his correspondents, whether heads of state or humble citizens of the US. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers and researchers. T. S. Langston Tulane University
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, August 2003
Library Journal, September 2003
Choice, March 2004
USA Today, June 2004
New York Times Book Review, October 2004
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Table of Contents
Frequent Correspondents
The Early Years
Home and Family
Health and Personal Appearance
Old Friends
Hollywood Years and Friendships
Running for Office
Core Beliefs
Economic Policy
Domestic Policy
The Cold War
Ideology and Institutions
The Cold War
Politics, Arms, and Missile Defense
The Middle East and Southwest Asia
Terrorism and the Iran-Contra Scandal
The Americas
The International Scene
The Oval Office and Reelection
The Media
The Critics
Reaching Out
The Lighter Side
American Leaders
Foreign Leaders
Pen Pals
Back to CaliforniaA Note on Methods
Sources, and Interviews
Index of LettersGeneral
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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