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As read by Ronald Reagan

David Rieff, 3 September 1987

Red Storm Rising 
by Tom Clancy.
Collins Harvill, 652 pp., £10.95, January 1987, 9780002230780
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... The Washington Post called the book ‘an enjoyable novel of derring-do’. More enthusiastically, Ronald Reagan, in a quote prominently featured on the back cover of the paperback, called it ‘the perfect yarn’. Red Storm Rising is an even more perfect yarn, if such a thing is possible to imagine. Its plot, as the jacket of the American edition ...

That’s America

Stephen Greenblatt, 29 September 1988

Ronald Reagan’, the Movie, and Other Episodes in Political Demonology 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 366 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 520 05937 9
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... he sees, where his penis should be, what is called a ‘glamour’. Under Nancy’s adoring gaze, Ronald Reagan’s valedictory address at the Republican National Convention was a glamorous performance. But at one point, trying to reproach the Democrats with John Adams’s phrase ‘Facts are stubborn things,’ he slipped and declared instead: ‘Facts ...

Ronbo

Michael Rogin, 13 October 1988

Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North 
by Ben Bradlee.
Grafton, 572 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 246 13364 3
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For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington 
by Donald Regan.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 09 173622 6
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... Ronald Reagan’s autobiography, Where’s the rest of me?, repeated the question the actor had asked in the movie King’s Row, when he woke up in a hospital bed to discover that his legs had been amputated. Reagan lost his legs in Hollywood, the autobiography explains, and recovered ‘the rest of me’ (that phrase is the leitmotif of his text) by fighting Communist influence there, acquiring personal and institutional backing, and marrying Nancy Davis ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Reagan and Rambo, 3 October 1985

... The standard image of President Ronald Reagan as a game but fuddled movie actor is an image so stale as to be rebarbative. It is the standby of the weary cartoonist, the flagging gag-writer and the composer of hackneyed captions. It’s been a boast of mine, during some years of writing from Washington, that I have never lampooned the old boy as a Wild West ham, an All-American kid, a granite-jawed GI, or any other of the stock repertoire ...

America is back

Alan Brinkley, 1 November 1984

... Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale have presented the American electorate with as clear an ideological choice as any set of Presidential candidates in the 20th century. The two men disagree fundamentally on their prescriptions for the economy, their approaches to national defence, their views of foreign policy, their stances on social issues ...

Kerfuffle

Zoë Heller: Ronald Reagan, 2 March 2000

Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan 
by Edmund Morris.
HarperCollins, 874 pp., £24.99, October 1999, 0 00 217709 9
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... Fourteen years ago, Edmund Morris won the job of writing the official Reagan biography. With the job came all kinds of unprecedented access. Morris was allowed to attend senior staff meetings at the White House and to travel as part of the Presidential entourage on foreign trips. He had permission to examine the President’s conscientiously kept handwritten diary and, most promisingly, he was granted a monthly private interview with his subject ...
... picked over by a joint House-Senate investigating committee, it was difficult to recall that Ronald Reagan was as recently as last autumn an asset to his party, and the source and symbol of the rebirth of the office he held. Now his administration is gravely damaged, and the old concerns about the office’s modern tendency to sweep aside ...

How China Colluded with the West in the Rise of Osama Bin Laden

Roger Hardy: International terrorism, 2 March 2000

Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism 
by John Cooley.
Pluto, 276 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7453 1328 0
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... Iran and the Soviet Union blundered into Afghanistan. First Jimmy Carter, and then Ronald Reagan, hailed the Mujahidin as freedom fighters and encouraged the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart, the ISI, to spend millions of dollars arming and training them to fight the Soviet occupiers. One of the curious side-effects was that US foreign ...

How Dirty Harry beat the Ringo Kid

Michael Rogin, 9 May 1996

John Wayne: American 
by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
Free Press, 738 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 02 923837 4
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... Wayne was in one of them. Orange County is in Southern California, home of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, of Hollywood, Disneyland and John Wayne. Nixon would have lost his home state and the White House in 1968 without his Southern California support. At the 1984 Republican Convention, Reagan, our second ...

Diary

David Rieff: Cuban Miami, 5 February 1987

... In most parts of the United States, even those voters who could be numbered among Ronald Reagan’s most enthusiastic supporters removed the ‘Reagan-Bush ’84’ bumper-stickers from their cars fairly soon after the 1984 Election was safely in the bag. No one thought the things were supposed to adorn the family automobile in perpetuity in the way that Saint Christopher medals adorned the dashboards of Catholic drivers all over America in the simpler days before Vatican II ...

Be Dull, Mr President

Kim Phillips-Fein: Remembering Reagan, 19 October 2006

President ReaganThe Triumph of Imagination 
by Richard Reeves.
Simon and Schuster, 571 pp., £20, March 2006, 0 7432 3022 1
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... The night before Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president, he made sure that he got a good night’s sleep, carefully instructing his aides not to wake him until 8 a.m. Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, about to step down from office, had been awake for 48 hours, supervising the negotiations over the release of American hostages in Tehran ...

Feeling good

Michael Rogin, 11 January 1990

The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream 
by Studs Terkel.
Hamish Hamilton, 439 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12667 3
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More than Bread: Ethnography of a Soup Kitchen 
by Irene Glasser.
University of Alabama Press, 180 pp., $22.95, November 1988, 0 8173 0397 9
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... Ronald Reagan left office more popular than any departing President since the end of World War Two. The same month Americans interviewed in a telephone poll achieved on a happiness scale the highest score in decades. Reagan’s popularity and American self-satisfaction have not risen together because of any general improvement in the standard of living: the rich are richer than they were a decade ago, the poor are poorer, and the average American stands about the same ...

Nuclear Argument

Keith Kyle, 18 April 1985

Objections to Nuclear Defence: Philosophers on Deterrence 
edited by Nigel Blake and Kay Pole.
Routledge, 187 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 7102 0249 0
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Reagan and the World: Imperial Policy in the New Cold War 
by Jeff McMahan.
Pluto, 214 pp., £3.95, August 1984, 0 86104 602 1
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A future that will work 
by David Owen.
Viking, 192 pp., £12.95, August 1984, 0 670 80564 5
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The Most Dangerous Decade: World Militarism and the New Non-Aligned Peace Movement 
by Ken Coates.
Spokesman, 211 pp., £15, July 1984, 9780851244051
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... It’s not that Ronald Reagan hasn’t got any ideas of his own,’ an American who held high office in the Pentagon under Jimmy Carter remarked recently. ‘The trouble is that he has such peculiar ones.’ He was referring to what has been officially termed the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) but what is much more appropriately called Star Wars ...

Right Stuff

Alexander Cockburn, 7 February 1991

An American Life 
by Ronald Reagan.
Hutchinson, 748 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 0 09 174507 1
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... story’ was a thing of the past, part of the discarded paraphernalia of the Nixon age. Reagan answered most satisfactorily this essentialist expectation, since as an excellent actor he had no problem in assuming or discarding roles, and could constantly refashion the ‘essential Reagan’ and live each new role ...

Reagan and Rosaleen

John Horgan, 21 June 1984

Prince of Spies: Henri Le Caron 
by J.A. Cole.
Faber, 221 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 571 13233 2
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... and achieved political power. One of them, it is now reasonably certain, was the ancestor of Ronald Reagan. Somewhere in the family’s peregrinations, a change of religion occurred, but that is only a minor inconvenience in an election year. In the past twenty-five years or so, Ireland has received more visits from US Presidents than has the ...

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