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What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era Paperback – October 14, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
—The Dallas Morning News
“An engaging book, the story of how a plucky and talented young person literally wrote her way into a previously all-male domain.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Noonan has written the funniest, most richly textured, nervously self-effacing and deftly observed political memoir...to come out of the 1980s.” —Time
Top Customer Reviews
She offers a wonderful recounting of her flirtation with and eventual repulsion from the American left, most vividly in her description of a bus trip to a Washington antiwar protest. It's a dim echo, really, of the intellectual journey taken by her political hero, Reagan.
Her recollection of the Reagan speechwriting shop is as compelling as any scene from Toby Ziegler's office in TV's "The West Wing." It rings true and its very exciting reading, even to this day. Also, her practical advice on political speechwriting is useful and valid whether you are a Democrat or Republican.
Working in that speechwriting shop, Noonan gave Reagan some of his most successful emotional appeals: The D-Day anniversary paean to "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc," the tribute to the Challenger astronauts. She followed that up with one of the most effective political attacks in US political history, George H.W. Bush's evisceration of his 1988 opponent, Michael Dukakis, at the New Orleans GOP convention.
I dock the book one star because of Noonan's lack of objectivity regarding Reagan, whom she loves like a kindly, if remote, grandfather. However, "What I Saw ..." is very much her best work. Her later books are either polemics or treacly valentines. Too bad, because she's such a wonderful memoirist.
* what it was like growing up in the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies,
* what it was like to work at a major news network (CBS) as it made the awkward, transition from radio to TV,
* how the White House speechwriting process worked,
* what went on inside the Reagan administration,
* what it was like to be a woman in a field dominated by men,
* what it was like to be a working-class, Fairleigh Dickinson-educated Jersey girl in a town populated by the old boys network and the Ivy League,
* what Reagan was like in person,
* how elements of the conservative movement fought and cooperated in the White House, and
* much, much more.
Having come to Reagan administration from CBS (where she worked for Dan Rather), Noonan spent only a few years at the White House in the mid-1980s -- long enough, though, to write some of Reagan's most memorable and moving speeches, including the Challenger and D-Day speeches -- but she saw, and participated in, so much. She describes her experiences with wit and humor and candor -- and, of course, the wonderful writing for which we've come to know her.
Despite her own conservative politics and love for Reagan, this is not hagiography. Even as she stands clearly in awe of the president, he remains a mystery to her, a distant enigma. She is uncertain whether Reagan's aides are actually manipulating him, or whether it's Reagan who's really doing the manipulating of his aides who seem always to be at odds.Read more ›
On her blog DemocracyArsenal.org a former Clinton speechwriter, Heather Hurlburt, complimented the book:
Her politics are not mine. But this book is beautifully-written, vivid and real -- about how young people get their politics, and their jobs; how movements, specifically Ronald Reagan's, form; and how lofty and petty the world of White House politics can simultaneously be. I don't believe it's been equalled.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this peek into the Reagan White House when first published; purchased again as gift for a friend as introduction to presidential biography, written by "insiders". Read morePublished 1 month ago by FORGOT_PASSWORD
the usual gift of words from the author. especially interesting into President Reagans personality and apparent cautioness of intimacy with others although always affable and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by C. Edward
Great book. Learned a lot about this period of time. Can't wait to read more of her books.Published 7 months ago by Susan Flood
The book was as if it were new. I am enjoying learning about speech writing and the politics even envoy end with that.peggy Noonan is a superb writer. Read morePublished 8 months ago by gracemarie serafina