Friday, February 11, 2005
I've slowly been working my way through Reagan's Path to Victory, a collection of radio addresses given by Reagan in the run up to his 1980 election win. Reagan gave something like 1000 addresses and wrote the vast majority of them himself. The content of these addresses is sharp and very detailed. While I have long been a fan of Reagan's presidency (yes, yes, it wasn't all rosey), this book and Reagan: A Life in Letters really changed my perception of President Reagan. I used to think he was mostly a "vision guy" who had the backbone to make some tough decisions, but got those decisions implemented because he had hired on smart folks to work for him. After reading these books I've come to the conclusion that Reagan was vastly misunderestimated. He was a smart guy who knew most of the details himself. Moreover, I was startled by the amount of handwritten correspondence he'd carry out with a wide range of people -- especially those who wrote taking him to task for his policies and decisions. Reagan's certainly a polarizing President. These two books offer up aspects of him which aren't particularly well-known.