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An American Life: The Autobiography Hardcover – November 15, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reagan presents anecdotes about his family, details his ideology, tells of his presidential candidacy and describes his eight years in the White House. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The Christian Science Monitor An American Life is filled with Ronald Reagan's good humor and goodwill. -- Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (November 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671691988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671691981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 111 people found the following review helpful By (Greg Ogden) MOgden@aol.com on July 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
As a generation Xer, my growing-up years were the 80's, and this book helped me put all the things I'd heard one the news as a youngster into perspective. It's neat getting the history from one of the people who were making history at the time, such as the president. They have a unique view and insight into the events of the time. What I also liked is how Ronald Reagan presented his life story and how it led to his presidency, and the philosophies his parents tought him about life and politics. Again, another great insight into the man. I came out feeling what a humble leader he was, and though he made mistakes, he always wanted what was best for the people of this country who he was serving.
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Jean Junker on December 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
In 725 pages Mr. Reagan tells a story of growing up in small town America from humble beginnings thru the presidency. The chapters are relatively short, each one an interesting story and written in a very readable style. This was a page turner for me and I could hardly stop reading. This book is all the more valuable as an autobiography, as Mr. Reagan's present illness set-in shortly after the end of his Presidency so we will likey not to be able to read any further works written by him. He discusses subjects from early politices, the California governorship and affairs of state during his presidency, his meetings with Mr. Gorbachev and its impact on the fall of Communisum in Russian, the tearing down of the Berlin wall and much more. Few people doubt that Mr. Ronald Reagan was indeed a great president, probably one of our greatest. This book will help you understand the man.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on February 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Great Communicator has done it again! "An American Life" takes the reader from his birth in Tampico, Illinois to the return to California with mission accomplished. Ronald Reagan earned the moniker "The Great Communicator" for his ability to reach an audience. "An American Life" proves that he could do it in ink too. His writing is direct, easy to follow and engaging. The theme of the book is the optimistic world view of the Reagan we knew. There is little introspection. Reagan knew what he believed and told it with gusto! Many of the stories are ones with which we are familiar. This book is the Gipper's exposition of his belief in family values and the individual. The readers are drawn into the issues which defined the Reagan Administration.

As a frequent traveler in Reagan's native region in Northern Illinois, I found the narratives of his youth in Galesburg and Dixon and his years at Eureka College to be particularly interesting. The reader follows Reagan to Iowa and on to California. The sections on Reagan's years in Hollywood give the reader an insight into the movie world. The chapters on Reagan's involvement with the Screen Actors' Guild focus on his opposition to Communist domination of the industry.

Reagan's years in California politics are related with may of the stories we have heard, such as the student protesters who entered his office to tell him that his generation could not understand them because he did not grow up with the modern conveniences, to which he replied that his generation had invented them.

Reagan tells of his conversion, which began with the General Electric tour in the 1950s, from a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican and from a reluctant candidate to an enthusiastic agent of destiny.
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92 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Brad C Haines on June 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the definitive book by and about a truly great leader, and a great man. Ronald Reagan came to office at a time when America desperately need a man of his strength and character. After a decade of downturn - particularly the Carter malaise years, Reagan renewed our faith in ourselves and our nation. Today's conservatives - especially our so-called "leaders" - need to read this book.
Ronald Wilson Reagan - Ronaldus Magnus - will be missed, and we may never see his like again.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer Lois Louthan on January 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very good book. Contains much history which either wasn't or couldn't be reported at the time it was happening. Although it is over 700 pages, it was a good and enjoyable book.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Rocco B. Rubino on February 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My first vote in a presidential election was for Ronald Wilson Reagan. I was a freshman in college and quickly coming to grips with my political philosophy and world view, when this idealistic, bright ray of sunshine declared it was "morning in America." Having remembered all to well the horrors of Watergate, the tepid Ford presidency, and the...well...you fill in your own perjorative for Jimmy Carter's presidency, Mr. Reagan, for me at least, was a breath of fresh air.

If you are looking for pure history of the Reagan years, the works of Lou Cannon and Richard Reeves will provide more objective views; i.e. the type of stuff political junkies like myself love to chew on. However, if you are looking for a first person account of a uniquely American story, this memoir will both uplift and inspire.

This book is quintessential Reagan. Missing is the self-adulatory, self-promoting tripe you read in autobiographies. Also, although he was bitterly opposed by "The Establishment," the literati, Hollywood, socialists, communists and the like, there is not an ounce of rancor to be found.

An American Life, despite the fact that it is 700+ pages, is a quick and fairly easy read. In order to obtain a full view of his presidency, I not only recommend this work, and the aforementioned volumes, but also the book that is the compilation of his letters. Far from being the "amiable dunce," you'll discover that "Dutch" was a unique and complex man and we are a better country for having him a part of the body politic for as long as we did.
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