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Governor Reagan

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  111 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
In Governor Reagan, Lou Cannon offers--through recent interviews and research drawn from his unique access to the cabinet minutes of Reagan's first years as governor of California--a fresh look at the development of a master politician.

At first, Reagan suffered from political amateurism, an inexperienced staff, and ideological blind spots. But he quickly learned to take t
Paperback, 592 pages
Published February 28th 2005 by PublicAffairs (first published September 1st 2003)
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Todd Stockslager
Jun 08, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Cannon has made somewhat of a career out of covering Ronald Reagan in California and Washington, DC as he ascended from "citizen-politician" to Governor and then to President. This volume provides a brief biography of the citizen years, then covers the 8 years of Reagan's two terms in Sacramento (1967-1974).

Written (and read) in hindsight, it is hard to separate the President to come from the governor who was, but Cannon does an excellent job of conveying the politics and progress of Reagan in h
Sep 24, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it
Good, fair, and balanced book about Reagan's years as governor and his campaign for President. Cannon obviously did a ton of research and interviewed many of the players involved in those days. There were still some undeserved pot shots at Reagan, but Cannon seems to understand him better than most other biographers. His analysis of Reagan's political skills and instincts is worth the price alone.
Frank Stein
Nov 09, 2009 Frank Stein rated it really liked it

The author of this book is a journalist who quite literally spent the last 40 years following Reagan around, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Cannon has already written three books about Reagan, and one does get the feeling that some of the material in this book has been worked over more than once. One of Cannon's earlier books, Reagan (1982), basically covered the same period, and as far as I can tell the inspiration for writing this book, or for amending the old one, was Cannon's di
Oct 30, 2010 Andy rated it really liked it
Question: which CA governor passed the largest tax increase in the state's history (at its time), blocked the damning of the Feather River, blocked the construction of a Trans-Sierra highway, expanded Redwood National Park and liberalized abortion laws pre-Roe v. Wade? Answer: Ronald Reagan.

Excellent book about Reagan focusing on his life before politics and his time as governor. He really was a pragmatist before he was a conservative. He was not a very intellectual man - one of my favorite vign
Fred Kohn
Mar 11, 2015 Fred Kohn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely better that the previous two Reagan biographies I have read. This one caught my eye because of my interest in the early Reagan years, especially his years in Hollywood. I definitely see more Lou Cannon books in my future. The one thing some might find annoying is the emphasis on "behind the scenes" details. The author seems fond of recalling personal moments with Reagan, especially some tidbit shared while flying together. For me, this added color to the book, but in the last section ...more
Jul 05, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely outstanding fair and balanced look at Governor Reagan. He did a lot in California that I never knew about. For instance, pass the largest tax increase in the history of the state. Mr. Reagan was a true pragmatist unlike this President in the White House right now. Many conservatives don't really know the true Reagan, they just think they do. The inter party feud with Ford was a fascinating look at Republican politics, in some ways applicable and pertinent in today's Republican party. ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lou Cannon is the dean of books on Ronald Reagan. Having followed Reagan's career from the very beginning, Cannon has the insight and first hand knowledge of California politics to make this book very good.
Jan 19, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
One of those well researched books that leaves one with a lot of facts but few insights. I preferred Wills' book. Even Morris' book was more comprehensive, although I wouldn't recommend it.
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Louis Cannon (born 1933) is an American journalist, non-fiction author, and biographer. He was state bureau chief for the San Jose Mercury News in the late 1960s and later senior White House correspondent of the Washington Post during the Ronald Reagan administration. He is a prolific biographer of US President Ronald Reagan and has written five books about him.
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