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My Father at 100 Hardcover – Unabridged, January 18, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reagan's beautifully written memoir is a conflicted tribute to a distant, almost mythical figure. Though he admits to being "quite close as father and son," the younger Reagan also considered his father "warm yet remote" and "intensely private." The son fares well in his first book-length foray, telling a surprisingly detailed story of his ancestors, analyzing examples of his father's heroic exploits, and relating touching accounts of his final years. The author is more concerned with showing how his father found his way through the world as a young man than he is about pulling back the curtain on the father-son relationship, which is a pity. The few filial episodes he recounts are predictable tales of moderate adolescent rebellion. The writer's wife emerges as the one person who tries—and fails—to push Reagan to examine deeper feelings. However, resentment is never far from the surface; his father's criticisms and reliance on political confidants at his son's expense seem to sting. "You're my son, so I have to love you. But sometimes you make it very hard to like you," his father once said, a passing reference that reveals more about the father-son relationship than Reagan dares share directly. (Jan.)
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“A deeply felt memoir."  — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“A first-person view of some of the most dramatic moments in the life of the 40th president.” — Doug Wead, The Washington Post

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022595
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steve Schwartz VINE VOICE on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book surprised me. I'd never been particularly impressed by Ron Reagan before, and least on the air, but his memoir has shown me that he is one beautiful writer.

I always enjoyed Ronald Reagan as a movie star, although his good pictures are few and far between. Nevertheless, you very rarely caught him Acting. Like Jimmy Stewart, he did the hard work of appearing natural. I always thought the Bonzo jokes both politically motivated and mean-spirited. I wish he had gotten the roles that would have allowed him to stay in the business, and I'm not just saying that because it would have kept him out of politics.

I should mention at this point that I'm a raging liberal, too liberal for most of the current sorry crop of Democrats. However, even when Reagan was in the White House, I never felt that he was evil or mean. I never suspected his dedication to doing good for the country and for the world.

However, he puzzled me. There was a public face always on display that kept glimpses of the inner man at bay. I found him enigmatic, behind a mask of openness. Even someone as acute a reader of character as Edwin Morris was flummoxed. His "fictionalizations" in the bio Dutch struck me as the product of pure frustration and mystification.

Ron Reagan admits he doesn't completely understand his father, although he loves his father and is sure his father loved his family. He also doesn't dismiss his father as a goof or an idiot. He respects his dad, as well as loves him. He points out his father's major achievements in office, including a world-altering diplomatic rapprochement to the former Soviet Union without sacrificing principle or acquiring the cynical smell of Realpolitik.
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48 of 59 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on January 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Recently, at a debate among people desiring to be Republican Party chair, a question was asked about their role models. The question was formulated something like this, "Besides Ronald Reagan, who is your....". The showed, glaringly and obviously so, how much Ronald Reagan is revered in the Republican Party (more like a god), as well as respect across the country. Reagan was the first president I voted for at the tender age of 18, and despite my driftward left in my political thoughts, Reagan still holds an allure to me. Perhaps it was What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era that resonated with me, among other books that I've read. But after reading Ron Reagan's deeply moving memoir on his father, "My Father at 100", it all comes back to the man.

Ron Reagan's book is a celebration of the life of his father. Part memoir, part travelogue, his book is a recounting of the early life of Reagan, from the time he was born up until his final year in college at Eureka. Reagan could have retold the story (as other books have done), but one thing that makes this book special is that he actually travels to these places he writes about. When discussing Reagan's birthplace, he visits the museum that is there now. When retelling Reagan's story about finding his father passed out drunk on a porch in Dixon, Illinois, Reagan goes there as well.

This pairing is brilliant. It allows Reagan to illustrate the biographical information with touching reflections about being there. In fact, every place he writes about comes alive because of this writing I frequently found myself shuffling to my compuer to look up some of these places to see them for myself.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Marc Mest on February 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First, yes the Reagan kids all have a political point of view, and most of them are not conservatives. But lets face it, everyone seems to latch on to Reagan whenever they are trying to advance their politcal agenda, yet Ron Jr. has a valid point, would Reagan have endorsed any of these conservatives? I don't know, but Ron Jr. has a right to question whether his Dad would have backed half of the conservatives that throw his dad's name around.

That being said, I am a conservative and was around when Reagan was President.

Considering Ron Jr. is the child that was raised full time by his Dad, he does have a story to tell about his dad and his family. And it is an interesting story.

As Ron Jr. points out in this book, people think they know everything there is to know about his Dad, but even his family does not completely understand the man. And his family history.

Ron Jr.'s writing is intersting and it does provide insight into his family and his dad. Yes, he does have some political bones to pick, but with the public and not with his dad. Contrary to the press, this is no hatchet job on his dad.

Overall this is a tribute by a son, to his larger than life dad, and it is a great read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Vincent T. Lynch on March 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As mentioned in the title of my review, I have reservations about this book. It's a somewhat thin book, and therein lies the problem. Not because it's thin, but because of what the author decides to include in the thin volume. Ron spends an awfully lot of the first pages of the book in setting the stage. Setting the stage is a good thing to do in a book or a movie, but in this case you begin to wonder how much longer you're going to read about the good old days before you begin learning something about Ronald Reagan himself. I know more about Tampico than I ever wanted to know. Once we finally get to hearing stories about his youth that Ronald related to Ron (or that Ron learned through other sources), the book gets considerably more interesting.

This is not a biography, and I didn't want it to be. A biography written by a son probably wouldn't be graced with accuracy. No, this is a remembrance of the MAN who was Ronald Reagan, not the actor, and not the politician. In fact, most of the book doesn't relate to the actor or the President. It relates to the swimmer as the young man was growing up. It relates to the sports figure who was turning into an adult. And in that sense, the book was what I wanted it to be -- a primer on who Ronald Reagan was as a PERSON. After all, like Ron Jr., I'm not suddenly going to become a conservative. No, like Ron Jr., I'm on the slightly liberal side of moderate America. But, after reading this remembrance of the man, I admire that man a bit more now. I still don't appreciate Reaganomics or Iran-Contra, or many of the other political/policy decisions. But I admire much more the somewhat simple (and I mean that in a positive way), straight-forward man with high character.
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