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The Notes: Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom Hardcover – May 10, 2011
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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)
“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)
“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)
“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)
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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. It's a useful addition to any library: on Reagan, on history, on leadership, on communication.
Most importantly--and, perhaps, most enduringly--as Brinkley declares in the introduction, Reagan's notes 'constitute a love song to America.'
Douglas Brinkley has edited in his book Ronald Reagan: The Notes, Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom the never before private collection of the Gipper's notes. It turns out that throughout his life, Reagan kept cards in a photo box of quips, quotes, and miscellaneous references to the greats throughout history.
Who know that his depth of reference transitioned from left, center, and right as these gems shine off the page. This box of treasures was discovered as the Presidential Library was preparing for the centennial birthday celebration of one of America's beloved President's.
This book is a treasure for any library and is an invaluable source for those who want to garner inspiration from this former President.