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Riding with Reagan: From the White House to the Ranch Paperback – February 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A unique perspective of President Reagan-both in and out of the saddle."

About the Author

John R. Barletta served his country as a member of the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division before joining the Secret Service in 1974 as a special agent. After President Ronald Reagan took office, John Barletta was placed in charge of the equestrian team because of his love of horses and his mastery of riding. When the Reagans left the White House, he was transferred to the Reagan Protective Division in Los Angeles as the assistant special agent in charge Originally from Somerville, Massachusetts, he now lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Rochelle Schweizer is the author is an intimate portrait of one of the most popular presidents in our nation's history. Author John R. Barletta, an army veteran and Secret Service agent with superior riding skills, was the perfect choice to protect Reagan--and he spent over a decade doing just that. Riding with Reagan is a stirring ode to friendship, brotherhood, and the great outdoors. It celebrates a true hero whose life and spirit are the embodiment of what it means to be an American.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806526807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806526805
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! It's such an interesting and different book about Ronald Reagan. Instead of politics, it's the recollections from his friend and secret service agent. I learned so much about horses and the secret service that I could not put this book down. It was nice to read about Reagan the man instead of Reagan the president. And it's always nice to read the insights from someone who was really there. I can picture Reagan riding his horse on his ranch thanks to the vivid descriptions in this book. I also learned a lot about the character of John Barletta. It's easy to see why Ronald and Nancy liked him so much. He's quite a guy. The story gets very sad at the end but I'm so proud to have this book in my collection. Also, I was glad that John was blunt and honest about Ron, Jr. and Patti. Those two have been speaking up a lot lately, but as is said in the book, they rarely visited their father when he was in good health. I wish I could have met Ronald Reagan. Thanks to this book, I feel like I know him.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of its connection with horses. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The book itself is well written. The insights into a very famous man are unexpected, and reveal facets of the man that were a big surprise to me.

I think this book would be interesting to almost everyone.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the the best book I have read about both the Reagan Ranch and how the Secret Service operates to protect our presidents. If you are a Reagan admirer, you will love this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is very well done except for few minor editing issues. The most important part is the private glimpse we get of Reagan. Reagan was a superb rider going back to his reserve Commission in the US Cavalry in the 1930s. He learned to ride the Army way although he could not later pass the physical for active duty when the war began. His riding was right out of the Cavalry Manual that George Patton knew by heart. Reagan always rode thoroughbreds and had a couple of stories about his movie career days riding. The author came to know the President after the 1980 election because there had not been an American president who rode horses in a long time. Finding a Secret Service detail who could ride was a big task. As it happened, the author loved horses and knew about them. This began a 25 year relationship with the Reagans that ended only with Ronald Reagan's death in 1997. I lived in the Malibu area when Reagan was governor and drove by his ranch in Malibu Canyon many times in the later 50s and early 60s. There is a lot detail about horses and riding in the book that adds to the enjoyment. There is an air of authenticity about Reagan that we are losing with our presidents. We seem to be in an "American Idol" phase of choosing presidents now, although I proud to say I have never seen the program in question. Reagan was far more than an actor as president. He probably could have made a living as a horse handler. An excellent read.

One revealing early moment came, at the inauguration, when Jimmy Carter's wife was astonished that Nancy Reagan knew the Secret Service man's first name !
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book from my wife for Christmas, due to my admiration for President Reagan, and wiped it out in about 8 hours. I could not put it down. Most of the material I have on Ronald Wilson Reagan, while giving some insight into his personal feelings, doesn't compare with this in its details about what things were important to him personally.

Mr. Barletta, his Secret Service agent (who luckily happened also to be an expert horseman and got the job of Riding With Reagan) shows his feelings for Reagan the human being over and above his job of protecting the President of the United States. Additionally, it shows that President Reagan truly cared about those around him. Reagan admired character above everything, I believe, and Mr. Barletta obviously supplied that in abundant amounts. His details of how Reagan thought and reacted to various events, of Reagan's loving relationship with his wife Nancy, and about how he obviously cared about those who served him are written in a touching and unforgettable way.

I am only sorry that it was such a fast read; I wish it had been twice as long. I know it will be a book I will pick up again, and if I have only one thing to say to Mr. Barletta, it would be "Thank you, Mr. Barletta, for taking care of President Reagan, and for caring about him as a person, rather than as an assignment. You're a lucky man to have had the opportunity, and the world is lucky for such men as you who do their jobs to the best of their ability."

In short: If you are a fan of President Reagan, this is an indispensable addition to your library. Even if you have just a passing interest in this man, the book will touch your heart.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that is hard to put down. The story telling is conversational and moving. Barletta spent time with President Reagan in ways others couldn't. His stories, as told by Rochelle Schweizer, contain flashes of insight into the inner workings of an amazing man.

The only thing I didn't like about this book is that I finished it too soon. Reagan fans will love this one. A must read.
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