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The Notes: Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 10, 2011

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 10, 2011
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XOT72
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 2010, researchers at the Reagan Library discovered a box of index cards containing jokes, literary quotes, and excerpts from speeches written in Reagan's own hand and arranged under rubrics such as "On Liberty," "On War," and "On the People." Rice University history professor Brinkley, who also edited The Reagan Diaries, suggests Reagan began collecting these as spokesman for General Electric beginning in 1954 and continuing until his death in 2004. Readers uncertain if Reagan hated taxes ("Justice O. W. Holmes: "Keep govt. poor and remain free") and communism (Pravda: the communist program is "all embracing & all bloodsoaked reality"), or if he loved God, liberty, and the Constitution (Daniel Webster: "if the const. shall fail there will be anarchy throughout the world") will find answers here. Even the jokes show a conservative bent. The squibs are from sources as far-ranging as Dale Carnegie, Solzhenitsyn, G.K. Chesterton, and even Chairman Mao (on marriage). Admirers will find plenty to admire in these jottings and nothing to change their view of Reagan, but rather confirmation of the vision they already have. 9 b&w photos. (May) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


“These notes are wonderful things. . . . Although a few recent books have proclaimed to have finally uncovered the real Reagan, there’s a chance we’ll never get any closer than in these scribbles, which reveal so much.” (Christopher Buckley, Bloomberg News )

“Now with the discovery of his note cards, we can better appreciate just how hard Reagan himself labored to be clear and convincing—and, yes, sometimes funny—to his many audiences.” (The American Spectator )

“This is a book to return to often and sample the collected wisdom found there that buttressed a remarkable man’s vision.” (The Washington Times )

“This volume provides an illuminating glimpse into Reagan’s mind. . . . The entries show the directness of Reagan’s thought and his uncanny ability to make a point.” (The Daily )

“The book offers a window into the mind of the nation’s 40th president and displays the effort he made behind the scenes to hone his performance as a speechmaker and storyteller driving home a conservative political philosophy.” (USA Today )

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Customer Reviews

He is a HUGE Ronald Reagan fan.
It gave me such a good insight in to how he handled his time as our president in a time that we needed a strong person of God, Country, and Human behavior.
Steve Kohan
This book was my 1st purchase on Kindle, I found the format flowed well..

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By John R. Smith on May 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is perfect for anyone in three distinct markets. The first consists of those who are interested in Reagan the politician and president, who, by many accounts presided over one of the greatest and most significant periods in American history (the revival of free market capitalism and the fall of the Soviet Union). The Notes offers a glimpse into the mind of one of the great figures in that period and underscores the spirit of the late 20th century in a way akin to Pascal's Pensées.

The second market consists of those who are interested in public speaking. It would not be a stretch to claim that Reagan was the best orator of the 20th century and rivals the great orators of the American founding. Looking at the notes is like taking a seminar on how to capture an audience's attention, connect with them, convince them, and then make them feel thankful for having received such wisdom. One recalls Buckley's Speaking in Public and Adler's How to Speak How to Listen.

Third, this book is for anyone interested in how to subdue what has become a fierce culture divide by means of eloquence and wit. The divide is not just a symptom of the problem, but the problem itself. And Reagan, of all people, understood the paradoxes of modern times wholly and could relate them if only by identifying them. While current politicians possess similar charisma and speaking abilities, they are incapable of connecting with such a wide span of Americans and foreigners.

For anyone in these markets and for lovers of communication in general, this book of Ronald Reagan's "keepers" is a keeper in itself.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Laura Freed on May 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Actually, I bought this initially on my Kindle (first generation) - but I will be buying the hard copy also, that's how much I was entertained as well as educated by it.
I am a quote junkie and saw the Editor, Douglas Brinkley, on one of the morning programs who explained that while it's true Reagan was a master communicator, he was also very prepared. A box of full of Reagan's "notes" was discovered in 2010. Reagan collected quotes, poems, and one liners that resonated with him and filed them in a black photo album.
This is a short book, I read it in one afternoon, but it is a book I will turn to again and again for when I need inspiration or a laugh or trying to understand history or politics.
The quotes are divided into these subjects: On Nation, On Liberty, On War, On the People, On Religion, The World, On Character (one of my most highlighted chapters), On Political Theater, Humor (the second most highlighted chapter).
There is a glossary at the conclusion of The Notes that lists more information on the people the quotes are attributed to...some are well known to me: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, but I loved that I was able to learn of authors that I was not so familiar with: Graham Barden, Whittaker Chambers, Gilbert Chesterton.

I will be gifting to this to many many people for graduations, birthdays, and Christmas.

This is for people who love history, love politics, love quotes, and of course, love Reagan.

Also, after reading it, I thought it would make a great gift to ALL political parties in office - it's a humbling, often humorous reminder of what this country fought for, stands for and yet most of today's politicians seem to have forgot.

If my house caught fire, and I could only save one book - it would be The Notes; that's how much I loved it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By James Strock VINE VOICE on May 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a delightful book! Here we have Ronald Reagan's jottings of thoughts and observations, jokes and quotations, preserved on his ever-present 4 x 6 note cards. Watch a film of the 'Great Communicator' preparing to speak, and you may find him slipping his hand in his suit pocket, deftly withdrawing and then arranging his cards as he waves, smiles, accepts applause and looks across his audience. His ubiquitous note cards were each written to be self-contained, with an eye toward prospective rearrangement for future presentations. This system--a description he might have smilingly dismissed as rather grand--comprised a vital element of his extraordinary effectiveness as a communicator.

Historian Douglas Brinkley has done a masterful job of classifying the cards into topics such as: 'On the Nation,' 'On the People,' 'On Religion,', 'On Character,' and so on. My favorite--and I suspect, the favorite of many--is the final section, 'Humor.' Reagan's voice is remains familiar, even intimate, in his use of humor as a persuasive tool, a management tool, indeed, a way to approach the seriousness of leadership and life and work.

Especially for younger readers, Brinkley adds value with a glossary of the many individuals whose words or actions populate the cards. The index is also invaluable.

Those who--somehow, against all evidence--continue at this late date to underestimate Reagan's discipline and thought process will find much to reflect upon in this book.

So, too, those who have studied or written about or served under Reagan (or done a bit of each, such as myself) will find much to appreciate in this newly discovered trove of work, direct from his pen.

I recommend this book most highly.
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