From Publishers Weekly
Ambitious and insightful, this study examines aspects of Ronald Reagan's life and career that account for his extraordinary popularity with the American public. Wills, author of Nixon Agonistes and Inventing America, portrays a Reagan whose optimistic personality is in harmony with the deep instincts of Americans. The President, he maintains, embodies the country's values and its collective dreams and memories. In his show-business years, Reagan was "the voice of midwestern baseball" and "the plain-spoken hero of horse epics"; later, as Hollywood union leader and California governor, he was the complete "company man." As President, his simple answers in the face of troubling complexities have let Americans feel positive about themselves. While sometimes overdetailed, Wills's study succeeds admirably in isolating the sources of Reagan's appeal. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC, QPBC and History Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Wills has written the first major social biography about Ronald Reagan. He focuses largely on the institutions that have molded the man rather than on Reagan himself. Parents, alma mater Eureka College, and the industries that provided employmentjournalism, radio, and motion pituresinstilled in Reagan views about life both real and stereotypical. According to Wills, roiling institutional contradictions have molded Reagan into a believing and believable bearer of modern myths. In turn, Wills explodes many of the myths that pervade the Reagan persona, including his evocations of an idyllic childhood, the virtues of the Wild West, and his distrust of government. As eloquent and provocative as the author's Nixon Agonistes , Reagan's America will receive a wide readership. Highly recommended. BOMC, Quality Paperback Book Club, and History Book Club alternates.Karl Helicher, Wolfsohn Memorial Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.