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An American Life Paperback – October 1, 1999
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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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.
The Christian Science Monitor An American Life is filled with Ronald Reagan's good humor and goodwill. -- Review
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Top Customer Reviews
The highlight of the book comes in its last third, which chronicles President Reagan's relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev. If for no other reason, buy this book to see how a tough-minded, judicious American President was able to negotiate with the highest-ranking member of the now defunct Soviet Union one-on-one. When I re-read it, it makes me proud to come from the United States and to have lived during the Reagan Era.
It was somehow comforting to hear his voice and the message he gave in his audio book reminded me that America is something to be proud of, not to be apologized for around the world.
While short (3 CD's) the fact that it was written and read in the audio CD by the President himself made this a very informative, inspiring and encouraging experience.
We need someone with the honesty, a good heart, well intentioned, and believing in the people of America and that our time is not over as the leader of the free world but is only beginning. Who can master communication as well as he did, and to capture not only our minds and logic but our hearts as well.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history and the presidency during Ronald Reagan's era. Five stars, without hesitation.
(I only wished it was longer!)
This autobiography is divided into six parts: his life until arriving in Washington, his first year in office, economic recovery, the Middle East and Grenada, Iran-Contra, and arms negotiations with the Soviets. I buzzed through the part on his childhood through winning the 1980 election. It was as engrossing as it was informative. Amidst his family story, governorship, and presidential campaigns, the words that are most striking are those dedicated to Nancy. His description of his love for her and their relationship would be worth its own book.
As the autobiography moves into his presidential years, the narrative slows its pace considerably. It might take the reader a few chapters to adjust. This is greatly due to the inclusion of diary entries (at one point the entries themselves take up many consecutive pages) and letters. While the reader must become more deliberate in his or her reading, it is well worth the insight and intimacy Reagan shares. The letters between him and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev detail the travels from opposed leaders, to negotiation partners, to friends. It gives insight to the final chapters of the Cold War that can be seen nowhere else.
"An American Life" also gives great insight to the inner-workings of an administration. President Reagan gives honest analyses of those who served closest to him: their highs, their lows, their strengths, their short-comings, and everything in between. Reagan shares his and his advisors' discussions on policy, on leadership positions, and how they all functioned (or malfunctioned) together.
President Reagan attempts to set the record straight on issues ranging from Grenada to the Iran-Contra affair. The challenge for a president to balance his confidential duties and be transparent to the people cannot be easy. After the fact he is able to share some information that was not privy to the general public at the time. Again, it's his honesty and frankness that is appreciated by this reader. Regardless of your thoughts or stances on the Iran-Contra affair, it is necessary to read the President's own words to give thorough criticism or support.
"An American Life" is a piece of unceasing literary importance. For eight years Ronald Reagan oversaw the greatest nation in history. Although not a perfect presidency, it is difficult to comprehend any argument that the United States was not better off in 1989 than it was in 1981. This autobiography is worth reading for Democrats and Republicans alike (not to mention Libertarians, Independents, any other political party members). Many Republicans (particularly those labeled as Neo-Conservatives) are quick to misunderstand his presidency, especially on the foreign affairs front. Meanwhile, Democrats are quick to forget that his ability to speak with and work with the opposing party was not an example of a man who sacrificed his principles to get things done.
In "An American Life", President Ronald Reagan gives a first-hand account of eight years that shaped the world. Its significance over the years will only increase, as we look to the past to learn about the future.