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Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  798 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In this enlightening new look at one of our most successful, most popular, and least understood presidents, bestselling author and former Reagan aide Dinesh D'Souza shows how this "ordinary" man was able to transform the political landscape in a way that made a permanent impact on America and the world. Ronald Reagan is a thoughtful and honest assessment of how this undere ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 23rd 1999 by Free Press (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,970)
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Carrie Daws
Sep 12, 2012 Carrie Daws rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of biography. I suspect the bottom line reason is because they are a lot of work for me. You see, I love the story behind people's lives,what helped shape them into who they became, what influenced their ideas to form the person who made the choices they made. But I have a basic problem: I get lost in the names.

This affects my reading in all genres, including fiction books with large scripts of people. I remember quite clearly the struggle to continue through the first several
Aug 13, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: r_non-fiction
According to my high school and university US history textbooks, Regan was an actor who expanded the national debt tremendously and happened to be president during the fall of the Soviet Union.

This book clearly explains what Regan actually accomplished. It also lists the major criticism of his presidency, and addresses the merits or (more often) the falseness of each. It also analyzes his leadership skills and style and what made him successful. There is much to be learned not only from what he
Jarvis Johnson
Aug 22, 2010 Jarvis Johnson rated it it was amazing
I'll start out by saying that I am a fan of Ronald Reagan. Still, I'm not blind to his shortcomings as President or Governor of California, nor am I a modern day conservative looking to resurrect him to run the country. I liked this book for a couple of reasons. One, it was an easy read. Unlike other biographies, this book isn't bogged down by the mundane details that tend to weigh down other biographies. Second, this book acknowledges his critics, from both the left and the right. People have a ...more
Connor Mcdermott
May 11, 2015 Connor Mcdermott rated it really liked it
In this chapter of the book the author explains how Reagan looks like he is a bad politician because he was an average student at a school that wasn't very good which made him not a very smart man. It was also said that he was a distant person and hard to talk to.

In this chapter it is extensively discussed how the tax cut policies that Reagan put into place effected America. It was good for some people but during this time a lot of people were laid off of their jobs. It was also discussed how R
Aug 21, 2015 J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
As a White House insider during the Reagan Administration, D'Souza observed first-hand the management style of one of the most respected and unrespected presidents of the last half of the 20th century. Initially, he agreed with some of the criticisms, but later came to understand that Reagan simply had a different style than other presidents.

Criticized for being intellectually lazy or simple-minded, President Reagan was never a favorite of the intellectual crowd. His Hollywood past and appeals
Lisa (Harmonybites)
How people regard this biography seems to reflect how they regard the subject. That's rather understandable. I think it's far too early really to evaluate Reagan (or Carter or Clinton) very objectively. Too many people are still alive that were caught up in partisan passions during his presidency. Whether at university or at the very left-leaning neighborhood I've lived in, I've overheard any number of demeaning, vicious remarks about Reagan--even on the very day of his death. I've heard him bit ...more
Bryn Dunham
Feb 01, 2013 Bryn Dunham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Not so much a biography as it is a snapshot of the character and philosophy of Ronald Reagan. This is a very good book to learn what Reagan stood for and how he conducted himself in policy making. What we learn was that he was a principled Conservative but not so stubborn to accept only all or nothing in his proposed legislation.

Though the author is one of today's most influential conservative authors, he does provide accounts of Reagan's failures and contradictions. For example Reagan was a st
Jun 10, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
DInesh D'Souza before he went insane. This is a good overview of President Reagan's time in the American spotlight. I always liked Reagan. I imagine that for many people in my generation, Reagan was like JFK was for my parents' generation: better in memory than he was in reality. Both Reagan and Kennedy had that intangible, all too rare quality in a President: leadership (actually, the longer I live, the more I see how rare a quality that is in any organization). Both JFK and Reagan have a certa ...more
Jan 17, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Explains some of Reagan's eccentric characteristics both as a man and as a leader. Not apparant to me in previous studies is Reagan's aloof attitude when it comes to personal relationships. He was intimately close with his 2nd wife Nancy. However his cabinet, staff, and even his children seem to have a much different interpretation.

What this has that Reagan's Diaries do not is a connection from his personality to the major events of his Presidency. Reagan was able to stick to his wills on highl
Apr 14, 2014 Aaron rated it it was amazing
I'm glad that I made the time to finish this book. What an extraordinary man at an extraordinary time in history. We'll never know how different our world would be had JFK not been assassinated. I'm glad that Reagan survived the same attempt on his life. As I travel the world I can now see the difference Reagan made in hindsight.
Feb 11, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
A conservative's look, not always flattering, at the Reagan presidency; and how Reagan should be considered a hero.
Jane Cook
Great look at Ronald Reagan.
Jul 18, 2008 Jasmyn rated it it was amazing
This was a great book about an incredible man--I read this right after we got back from our European trip, since we stood in Berlin and had Julie quote him as saying "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" and I had no idea he was that forceful during the Cold War. He also passed away while we were in Europe and there were things about him written in all the European papers. A man of great courage and conviction--I loved this biography.
Jan 18, 2009 Becky rated it it was amazing
I've always wanted to know more about Reagan and this was a great book to get to know him better. He truly was what a leader ought to be. Of course he had flaws, but he was who America needed at the time and he served selflessly and courageously - in a way that reminds me of how the founding fathers served, not as politicians, for power or gain, but as leaders and servants.
Jul 06, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
D'Souza includes a short history of current events in the 60s and 70s that led to the challenges faced by Gov. and Pres. Reagan. That was very helpful for me. This seems to have been written during a time when Reagan wasn't yet considered "one of the greats" like he is today (to me!). I had a hard time putting this book down.
One of the most interesting, informative, and moving books I've ever read. Despite the intensity of political/historical information, the book is surprisingly easy to read and moves quickly. This is the history of Reagan no student will find in any text book. Ought to be required reading. Brilliant.
I always enjoy reading about Reagan. D'Sousa's book was informative but nothing was new was gleaned compared to other books about Reagan I have read. If you have seen or read any recent works by D'Sousa, you can see how he has matured and honed his craft since this book was written in 1997.
Brian Davis
May 14, 2010 Brian Davis rated it it was amazing
The WORLD needs another Ronald Reagan right now. That is all I could think about reading this book. His brand of leadership...devoid of concern about political consequences and totally dependent upon moral concience and faith is so far from what we see from most leaders today.
Steve C
May 08, 2011 Steve C rated it it was amazing
It's been a while, and I can't remember the details. But this was truly a great book. Reagan was a great man and people continually tried to be a part of his inner circle. But he let no one in except for his wife.
Moses Operandi
Oct 04, 2008 Moses Operandi rated it really liked it
Shelves: readandenjoyed
An excellent biography of one of my heroes. When I compare Reagan to Bush...well, let's just say Reagan comes out on top. D'Souza's writing is not particularly inspired here, but a good biography nonetheless.
Oct 27, 2012 Shannon rated it liked it
Funny how many correlations between him and Romney there are....continues to make me glad I am a Republican, but sounded like just a good guy overall. No one ever truly understands DIFFERENT.
Jan 12, 2010 Adam rated it it was amazing
Reagan was a great man. So funny, steady and determined. He was unflappable. Such a rare character. The book was a great insight into all of his policies, character and his constant wit.
Sheralyn Belyeu
Jan 27, 2008 Sheralyn Belyeu rated it it was amazing
Funny and perceptive book about Ronald Reagan's political successes and leadership skills.
Ted Hopkins
Apr 30, 2011 Ted Hopkins rated it it was amazing
my favorite book from my favority author about my favorite President.
Oct 27, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it
Not the best Reagan biography, but I like Dinesh D'Souza
Jan 31, 2008 Josh rated it did not like it
If I could give this book zero stars, I would.
Feb 26, 2008 Larry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
sad ultra conservative propaganda
Jun 02, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it! Love it!
Jan 18, 2010 Gretchen rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book about a great president.
Jan 29, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Matt by: Jenni Cragun
Shelves: biography
Excellent book!
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A former policy analyst in the Reagan White House, Dinesh D'Souza graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1983. He served as John M. Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. D'Souza writes primarily about Christianity, patriotism and American politics. In 2014, he was convicted of violati ...more
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