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Speaking Out: The Reagan Presidency from Inside the White House Hardcover – May 1, 1988

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684189291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684189291
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,245,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starting with the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan that crippled press secretary Jim Brady, whom he succeeded, Speakes self-importantly recounts his part as White House spokesman in the six years that followed. This laudatory portrait of Reagan, whom Speakes predicts will rank as a great President, makes light of his "only human" foibles. A veteran of the Nixon and Ford press operations, Speakes found one of his problems was preserving the First Family's privacy without antagonizing the media. Assisted by Pack, biographer of Howard Jarvis and Edward Bennett Williams, he recalls the major events and crises during his tenure and the battle for sympathetic public opinion. His loyalty to Reagan was sorely tried by the Iran-contra catastrophe, which split the administration and led to his own resignation to join a brokerage firm. He is candid in his criticism of members of Reagan's entourage, including Vice-President Bush, and scathing in his comments on Meese, Haig, "loose cannon" Weinberger and North, along with appraisals of members of Congress, justices, reporters and foreign leaders; however, readers expecting sensational revelations will be disappointed.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on April 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have read a number of books covering the Reagan Administration and this rates as one of the more enjoyable to read. Not from a hard facts point of view, but becuase of the level of gossip. From talking about the different personalities of the top officials to the make up of the Reagan suit collection, the author(s)do a good job of giving you the kind of information you would gather from an office coffee break conversation. This is a fairly light book that provides the reader an interesting view into the personalities of the President's close circle. If you are looking for an in-depth decision about the policies or events, this is not your book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on September 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As President Reagan's Press Secretary, Larry Speakes had an insider's view of the workings of the Reagan White House. Working closely with and observing those supporting the Reagan Administration, and President Reagan himself, Mr. Speakes also gained various insights into the personalities and character of those involved. These, he offers to the reader. He also met with the President and attended many high-level meetings where he listened to the discussions, saw how the various participants acted and reacted, and finally witnessed how the critical decisions were made. For these reasons alone, this book should be of interest to anyone seeking to understand or learn more about President Reagan and his administration.

Fortunately, this book is an easy read. It flows well, offers many useful insights, and most importantly wasn't written by an author with a hidden agenda or an axe to grind. The most interesting thing about the book, however, at least in my view, is that it directly contradicts Donald Regan's book, "For the Record," in one important particular. In his book, Mr. Regan maintains that even after hearing all of the discussion, President Reagan rarely made a decision and that it was left to the listener to assume that if he didn't say no, the answer was yes --- and, in some cases it was even necessary to resort to Reagan's public utterances to determine the correct course of action. Mr. Speakes, on the other hand, who also attended these critical meetings, states that "...the President was decisive. He listened; he was well-informed on the important points; and once he had received the counsel from his top appointees, he acted."

I guess it will be left to future historians to determine who is right. But knowing what I do about Ronald Reagan, I suspect that Larry Speakes, no axe in hand, is much closer to the truth. In any event, it all makes for very interesting reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
People seeking to understand Ronald Reagan will enjoy this book as a supplement to other essential reads, like the "An American Life" autobiography and "Ronald Reagan" by Dinesh D'Souza.

John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"
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