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President Reagan The Role Of A Lifetime [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   883
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   2.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   PublicAffairs
ISBN  1891620916  
EAN  9781891620911  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The only writer to cover Reagan throughout his political career offers an account of his presidency, penetrating his disarming simplicity to uncover important subtleties.

Publishers Description
Hailed by the New Yorker as "a superlative study of a president and his presidency," Lou Cannon's President Reagan remains the definitive account of our most significant presidency in the last fifty years. Ronald Wilson Reagan, the first actor to be elected president, turned in the performance of a lifetime. But that performance concealed the complexities of the man, baffling most who came in contact with him. Who was the man behind the makeup? Only Lou Cannon, who covered Reagan through his political career, can tell us. The keenest Reagan-watcher of them all, he has been the only author to reveal the nature of a man both shrewd and oblivious. Based on hundreds of interviews with the president, the First Lady, and hundreds of the administration's major figures, President Reagan takes us behind the scenes of the Oval Office. Cannon leads us through all of Reagan's roles, from the affable cowboy to the self-styled family man; from the politician who denounced big government to the president who created the largest peace-time deficit; from the statesman who reviled the Soviet government to the Great Communicator who helped end the cold war.

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More About Lou Cannon

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Carl M. Cannon is the White House correspondent for National Journal, the author of "The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War," and co-author of "Boy Genius: Karl Rove, The Architect of George W. Bush's Remarkable Political Triumphs," He lives in Washington, D.C. Lou Cannon covered Ronald Reagan for thirty-six years, first as a reporter for the "San Jose Mercury News," later as "The Washington Post" White House correspondent. The author of five other books on Reagan including "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime," he lives in Summerland, California.

Lou Cannon currently resides in Summerland, in the state of California.

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General   [54887  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Some big complaints  Jun 11, 2008
The second of the 2 part series is by far the weaker of the two books.

First, the second book appears to be written as almost a standalone. It continually rehashes happenings in the first book like the reader either doesn't remember or didn't even read the first book. This gets in the way of what is happening in the Reagan Presidency and tended to get me offtrack. I would suggest that Cannon should not make it easy for readers to be lazy. Anyone willing to read 700+ pages on the Reagan Presidency is probably willing to read the first volume so don't rehash things.

Second, I couldn't figure out what method Cannon was using to tell this story. It jumped around quite a bit. At times, it seemed chronological and it times it seemed more subject based. The only part of the second book that really captivated me was the 100+ pages describing in detail the Iran-Contra affair. I was in high school when this took place and appreciated Cannon's detailed account. I though he was even handed with this account, but I can't say that for the rest of the book.

Clearly Reagan was in over his head but haven't most Presidents been in the too too deep end throughout history. Reagan may have had his cue cards and his talking points, his stories and his jokes, but the President is a figurehead more than anything else and Reagan was a great figure who knew more than Cannon gave him credit for.

I wish Cannon would have spent more time dealing with the Cabinet, specifically those not named Donald Regan or James Baker. He spent way too much time talking about these guys. It got to be a chore rehashing what a bad job these guys did at times. How about Reagan's relationship with Bob Dole, GHWBush, Margaret Thatcher, others... not enough analysis there.

Cannon's liberalism shines through in the second book. I didn't think it was untrue but I did think it was unfair. Reagan was a figurehead but Cannon thinks that made him a bad President... I think that was what made Reagan a very good President. He didn't get bogged down in the details and instead gave the country something to get excited about as we emerged from the Hell that was the Carter administration.

I'm not saying Reagan was the best President ever but he sure deserves more credit than Cannon gives him. Familiarity breeds contempt and that is the only thing that can explain Cannon's interpretation in the second book.

You still should read it to complete the series but make sure you pack plenty of grains of salt with that highlight pen.

Pathetic Hogwash  Jun 10, 2008
This book is filled with blatant lies, half-truths and hearsay. There is nothing credible to this guy's ludacris accusations and slander. If you are a thinking person then put this book down and save yourself the trouble of reading this liberal hatchetjob. But if you believe aliens are stealing your thoughts, JFK and Elvis are still alive and dogs are telepathic then this is the book for you.
Overrated and outdated book  Jun 4, 2008
Those who read this account of Reagans two presidencies in the year 2008 will doubtlessly be disappointed when they compare the lavish praise for the book with what they actually find in it.

Lou Cannon is a Washington Post journalist who followed Reagan already since he became governor in California. As can be expected from an author with this background, he accurately recounts the day by day events, press briefings, cabinet gossip, reshuffles. His sources are therefore his personal memories, countless on- and off-record interviews with all members of Reagan's inner circle and cabinet. This accurate account of the events of Reagan's presidencies is the real merit of the book for which the author deserves praise.

The lavish praise of the book as the definite account of Reagan's presidencies is however undeserved. For such an accomplishment the author should have focused more on the long-term and lasting effects of the presidencies. Having written the book shortly after Reagan left office and updating it ever since, it has by construction a short-term view.

From today's perspective the extremely detailed (but also interesting) account of the Iran-contra affair takes too much prominence. By comparision other areas are not covered in detail: the Reagan tax reform for example. The whole issue of Reagonomics is also analysed from a journalist's perspective: recounting the contradictory remarks of what others have said about them instead of offering an analysis from an own (economic) perspective.

I also doubt that the book is unbiased. According to the author, Reagan held a small set of firm believes, which happened to be right. But in general, Reagan was totally uninterested in governing if apt at all. He was an actor in the White House performing for the American people the role of his lifetime. Whithout doubt there is some merit to this account. But it is difficult to imagine that such a president would have been able to run one of the most successful presidencies of modern times.

As Reagans achievements become generally accepted over time, we see Lou Cannon updating his book with all these achievements, while maintaining his critical assessment of Reagan as a mere actor. Reagan appears like one of these monkeys that happened to draw wonderful pictures of modern art - at least according to some experts. As was the case with those monkeys, rather than blaming or praising them, one should question the assessment of those experts.
Role of a Lifetime  May 27, 2008
Cannon covers Ronald Reagan in his last starring role in this heavy biography of the man and survey history of his time as President. It is an effective follow up (though written earlier) to Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power, which I also review here.

Cannon has a great feel for the man, spending the first third of the book laying out Reagan's personality, psyche, and personal history before turning to application of what we learned about Reagan the man into how he performed his greatest role. And Cannon is mostly sympathetic to Reagan in this role--he finds him consistent with his personality, his vision, and his ability to represent American ideals. Cannon finds that Reagan was consistently underestimated throughout his political career, but was still a consummate leader:

"While he needed more assistance than any other modern U. S. president in the day-to-day operations of the presidency, Reagan held firm to a core of unshakable opinions . . . . It was Reagan, not his staff, who set the agenda and established the priorities for the major accomplishments and debacles of his presidency. It was Reagan who wanted the tax cuts and the military buildup. It was Reagan, although not Reagan alone, who wanted to negotiate with Mikhail Gorbachev. And it was Reagan, again not alone, who advocated the sale of U. S. arms to Iran in exchange for American hostages."

And in these quotes we also see the Reagan who was distant from his staff, tired easily, and had little grasp of government and the technical issues of the implementations of his visions in budget and spending decisions, governance, and foreign policy. Cannon does not shy away from these problems, and in fact shows how Reagan, both the man and the role, were responsible for the signal failures of his presidency--the failure to deal effectively with terrorism against American's in Lebanon, and the Iran-Contra scandal. Cannon seems to spend comparatively too much time in Lebanon, confusingly tied up in arcane names and actions, perhaps to set the scene for the history of Iran-Contra, which he tells much more clearly and concisely. In fact, as one who remembers Iran-Contra as journalism unfolding daily over years in bits and pieces of newsprint, Cannon provides an excellent synopsis of the decisions, actions, and lack of oversight that became a political, legal, financial, and constitutional disaster.

Fortunately, Iran-Contra wasn't the last act for Ronald Reagan, as he showed his leadership abilities in dealing with the Soviet Union, and Cannon is able to conclude his study with "Visions and Legacies" mostly positive, and always honest. For me, a college graduate in 1982 who entered a world overshadowed by economic disaster at home and imminent specters of terrorism, Soviet Russia, and nuclear war abroad, Ronald Reagan was the President whose leadership and policies made my world and and my country strong again. Looking back over 20 years of history with Cannon's assessment, I can better appreciate the strengths and recognize the weaknesses of the man who still remains in my mind one of our greatest Presidents.
Horribly biased attack literature  Mar 29, 2008
This book written by Lou cannon, states that its goal is to examine Ronald Reagan the man and hos presidency in an unbiased view, to d othis he claims that he states both stregths and weakness. However the language that is used and the manner in which it is used makes Canno lose all credibility within thefirst 60 pages. All weakness on Reagans part are over exagerated with unecessarily strong language, and are presented as fact above all facts, where as his strengths are only slightly mentioned and are discussed as possible strengths that can be greatly debated. All in all the book serves as a wonderful example of how a completly one sided view can besugar coated to appear on the surfe as an unbiased one. This technique imployed everyday by the media, is well illustrated by Cannon. This is to be expected however as Canon is a Media reporter and not a historian, analyst or a physcologist. In his writting however he attempt quite poorly at that to be al three. The writting style is also not very compelling, after the first 20 pages or so , it settles into a monotonous tone that prevents reading through a large chunk at one sitting. All in all This book should not be read by anyone that wants a historical view on Reagan or his presidency. However it is an excellant example of nonprofessionalism in todays media and its members.

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