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Images of Greatness: An Intimate Look at the Presidency of Ronald Reagan Hardcover – June 17, 2004
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Souza and his cameras were present during some of the most significant events in world politics, and his personal relationship with the president also allowed him into the most intimate reaches of Reagans world. From the presidents angry utterance to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev following the failed 1986 summit meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, to his playfully tossing a paper airplane off a hotel balcony, Images of Greatness poignantly captures the drama and impact of Reagans presidency as well as the humor and compassion that defined his more private, human side.
Images of Greatness follows our nations fortieth presidency through the award-winning lens of one of our times most celebrated photographers. Souza has gathered more than 100 exclusive photographs and devoted them to slices of the Reagan presidency that include his daily working life, his foreign travel and many hours spent on Air Force One, his landmark summits with Gorbachev and other heads of state, the stolen moments on his California ranch, both times of international crisis and lighthearted laughter, and his emotional final day in office. This remarkable, compelling work both tells the story of perhaps our most dramatic, celebrated presidency and also sheds a never-before-seen light on the man behind it.
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This collection of Pete Souza's photos of the Reagan presidency brought me on a sentimental journey back to those days. As he describes each event depicted in the pictures, I was reminded of the mood and feel of the country back then, both good and bad. The photographer captured moments I had forgotten, or maybe was too young to understand at the time. I read through the whole book and enjoyed every page.
Souza is a great photographer, and he was in the right place at the right time a lot of the time. While he admits to not necessarily agreeing with Reagan's politics, his respect and affection for the man himself is apparent. He shares with us tense moments of Reagan with Gorbachev, and the president coping with difficult events such as the Challenger explosion and the Iran Contra scandal. Alternately we get to see the lighter side of his White House days, including parties and events with familiar faces such as Princess Diana, John Travolta, Liz Taylor, and Michael Jackson. Reagan comes across as a man with great compassion and a great sense of humor. The book also includes the noteworthy photograph of Reagan shaking hands with "ordinary citizens" (KGB agents) in the U.S.S.R., with one man in the picture who may be...or may not be...Vladimir Putin.
See that picture on the cover? It's not a Norman Rockwell painting, it's just a fantastic photo with perfect lighting. This is a great book for Reagan fans, history buffs, photography collectors, and anyone who simply misses the 1980s.