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The Reagan Diaries

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,229 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews
During his two terms as the fortieth president of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary in which he recorded, by hand, his innermost thoughts and observations on the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine day-to-day occurrences of his presidency. Brought together in one volume and edited by historian Douglas Brinkley, The Reagan Diaries provides a strik ...more
Paperback, 767 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Harper Perennial (first published May 22nd 2007)
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Robert A. Smith
Aug 12, 2013 Robert A. Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As you read page after page of this book, the evidence accumulates. Ronald Reagan was not a dunce. Or an empty headed actor. Or a cold-hearted politician. In fact his words and thoughts show him to be the polar opposite of the picture his critics drew. Reagan wrote these entries day after day over eight years time. And his words form an incredible body of evidence -- evidence that shows he was one of the most principled, spiritual, enlightened and yes, well-informed chief executives America's ev ...more
Dan Myers
Jul 07, 2009 Dan Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friday, I did something I never thought I would do in my life. I bought a book about Ronald Reagan.

It was sort of an accident. I was just waiting in line at the bookstore and saw The Reagan Diaries sitting near the check out. I started flipping through it and I just couldn't put it down. The book is an edited version of the daily diaries Reagan kept while he was president. They're actually very short entries but he faithfully wrote nearly every day and you get a good sense of what was most salie
Jan 21, 2010 Shan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My memories of Reagan are from when I was a kid. I mainly remember seeing him on TV. It wasn't until I got older and began to learn more about his presidency that I realized what a truly great man he was for how he led our nation to prosperity.

Reading his diaries enabled me to get to know Reagan the man, not just Reagan the president. Reagan was very humble. He often worried about letting down the people of America. And he loved his wife. He wrote about her often and was open about his heartache
Aug 23, 2009 srdjan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great historical document- you really come to appreciate that the job of president is essentially impossible. Every major event in the world somehow ends up on the President's desk, and everyone wants the President's time. You only get a real sense of how absurd that is after seeing the operating rhythm in such meticulous detail.

Also, the book serves as a great summary of the politics and world events of the 1980's - with Gorbachev coming across as the man who really ended the Cold War - and wi
May 29, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those 80's! We lived 'em but here is an insider's view of what was going on in the political-cultural world to which most of us were oblivious. From the Illegal Air Traffic Controllers strike that paralyzed America to the shooting of Mr. Reagan, here is the man's own words on his leadership of the free world and the end of the USSR.
Mr. Reagan writes of his frustrations and his friendships with the Democrat Leadership of the U.S. House; of his immense love for wife Nancy and his fatherly conce
Mark Mortensen
Each page offers forth an undeniable valuable piece of American and world history. President Reagan stood tall with an optimistic voice of freedom for the world. At times his words were strong, forceful and meaningful and at the other end of the spectrum he was known for some random quips and a casual smile. He was a man full of thought and compassion and the family color photos throughout the book are priceless. His diary portrays a constant pattern of rising early each morning. Out of respect ...more
Chris Munson
Aug 15, 2012 Chris Munson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, politics
As a child of the 80’s and an evil Republican, I was simply interested in learning about President Reagan’s side of what happened during his presidency. I'd forgotten what a turbulent time the 80's were from an international perspective. Surprisingly, I’ve also learned a ton of practical lessons on leadership from this book. Want to inside of the head of a great leader? Pick up this book. Talk about a great example of “never let them see you sweat!” You can just about pick out an example of almo ...more
Robert White
Feb 10, 2013 Robert White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A long, long read ... and worth the effort for students (like me!) of leadership, politics and governance. Ronald Reagan wrote compellingly in his diary every day for the eight years of his Presidency. You get very clear insight into the man, his loves, his irritations, his thinking and his priciples. What was especially striking was his commitment to working the "other side of the aisle" to generate relationships and compromise. Like all Conservative Presidents, it's clear he didn't like the me ...more
Mar 19, 2010 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I am a great admirer of President Reagan, my expectations for this book was that it would be interesting, but a little bit dull. I mean, the daily diary of the chief executive of the U.S. - even though it was his responsibility to make world-changing decisions, how could a diary of eight years be a page-turner? I was pleased to find out that this book was hard to put down. All those years that many dismissed Reagan as an empty-headed actor that just read the script others wrote was p ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so happy I finally finsihed this book! It wasn't a page turner for me, but very helpful in painting a picture of the 8 years Reagan was in the White House. He was a great president, and he looks even better when compared to Obama. Reagan was a true leader.

Note: Once again, my opinion of the main stream media declines, as if it could get any lower. The principle of a free press/freedom of speech is so vital to a free nation, but it is frustrating that a large number of those in the profession
Bryce Rausch
Apr 27, 2009 Bryce Rausch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book deserved probably 3 stars, I would think most might give it 2.

The reason I gave it 4 was simple, it pulled me in. I found it very interesting and on several occasions found myself online trying to get more background on something discussed.

A few thoughts on the book: Lots of mention on Iran Contra, seems like presidents spend much more time with Sec of State rather than VP's, you could tell he was an actor from his love of movies, he definitely cared about his wife, paid attent
Jan 08, 2016 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Impressive look into the daily life of this President. While there were some that I skipped, Reagan was a dedicated leader. This diary gives a candid look into his thoughts, opinions and life as president; this is a great historical document.
Notables during Reagans presidency-freed Iranian hostages-Lebanese War-Russian bombing of Korean Airplane-El Salvador Civil War-Reagans son Ron was a spoiled little brat. He seemed to cause more trouble than the other Reagan kids-Grain Embargo-Reagan gets frustrated with George Will, Jack Kemp, Tip Oneil-Reagan spent alot of time writing or revising speeches-Press is just as biased and dishonest as it is today except Foxnews didn't exist-did anyone know there was a hostage situation in Oct 1983 ...more
Kevin Brownsey
The Reagan diaries chronicle Ronald Reagan's two terms as President of the USA. I found parts of the book intriguing, especially his personal references to Nancy, which are clearly those of a man who very much loved, admired, and relied heavily on his wife. Reagan is no intellectual therefore these diaries are sometimes not particularly well written, nor are they very profound. Notwithstanding this I love the way Reagan recounts his days in much the same way as any of us would, the difference be ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Erwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
heavily edited.

it's interesting to see the summary of trivial issue and people that make their way to the presidents desk, but the truly important and interesting issues (trade policy, foreign policy, military/intelligence, and campaign strategy) are mostly edited away in this version.

correlate this with the WSJ, FT, and some other major news sources of the time and you can put together an educated guess of what was edited out for "our own good"... if only I could make the time to do tha
Stewart White
Dec 12, 2015 Stewart White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is extremely interesting to read the journals of a president.

Edited by one of my professors too.
Oct 19, 2011 TheRose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
My rating isn't so much for the book as the subject. One needs to scan this book rather than reading - 75% boring stuff. However, the 25% interesting/exciting stuff makes it all worthwhile! What an amazing, wonderful, humble, hardworking, intelligent, courageous president he was! The humility was, for me, the most moving aspect of his character. I know he wasn't perfect, but he was the last of the great statesmen - they just don't make them like him anymore. He simply did his best, and that was ...more
Apr 28, 2013 Patrice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing peek into the mind of a great man. Day by day, he writes of his activities, his meetings, his feelings. I admire this man so! My only problem was his attitude towards Israel. That surprised me. In a bad way. He was not as supportive as he should have been and he was too worried about Arab pressure to stand up for what was right. I guess he was more practical and less idealistic than I'd thought.

I would read an entry or two every night before going to bed. It was so comforting.
Jun 22, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow what a great book. This really give you a feel for what was happening at the time. I have never been one for politics, but the diaries give you a sense that Regan was not only a great president, but a great man who just tried to do what was right each and every day. You really get a feel for his simple, common sense approach to governing as well as the charisma he seemed to take with him everywhere he went. Great book, I recommend it to anyone who really want to understand and appreciate the ...more
Janna Scott
Jan 15, 2016 Janna Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is an extraordinary book. although the entries in the diary are to-the-point, even spare in writing style, an indelible portrait of a one-in-a-million man emerges. reagan's integrity, values, warmth, humor and enormous patience and grace under fire shine through despite, or perhaps because of, the economy of his language. it also provides the perspective of a president on events in the u.s. & around the globe i only read about in news during the 1980s -- and it's, as would be expected, ...more
Don Stanton
Jan 05, 2011 Don Stanton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In his own words he describes his transformation and re-transformation into the great man known as the “Great Communicator.” I am totally biased, as you might see, but I lived those times and would to God there arose another like him now. Often criticized by our own press, he restored the greatness of America in the eyes of the world including our own. As far as I am concerned, he belongs on Mt. Rushmore.
Derick Warner
Dec 24, 2012 Derick Warner rated it really liked it
Contrary to popular opinion, this book has limited political rhetoric and really humanizes the position of President of the United States. I am a big fan of President Reagan, but this boom really proves that any president regardless of political association is still an individual doing what's best with the tools given to them. Would recommend this book to anyone interested in history, and political office.
Nov 11, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
President Reagan made notations in his diary every single day of his presidency, except perhaps for those days when he was hospitalized after being shot. He used writing to organize his thoughts and even wrote or edited most of his speeches. His true nature is revealed through his diary entries. He was not an intellectual giant, but he was a charismatic leader and a great orator. He brought people together and worked toward compromises and agreements. For instance, he will always be associated w ...more
Dameon Huber
May 17, 2011 Dameon Huber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An awesome insight in to Histories greatest President of modern times. You get to see what he thought of Legislation, certain people, things that happened around him, and his awesome wife! Everything he writes about Nancy reads as a love story!
Aaron Million
Jan 19, 2016 Aaron Million rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diary
Fascinating look at Reagan's presidency. It is fascinating to see his schedule on a daily basis - all of the meetings, visitors, talking to members of Congress and his cabinet, public appearances, and the never-ending travel schedule.
Jul 13, 2012 Barbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reagan's actual diaries. Parts omitted only when it could compromise security or were too personal. Pretty amazing to read, since the reader in some cases (like assassination attempt)know what's coming before he does!
Jul 10, 2009 Quentin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where is the Gipper when we need him? Great insight into the life of a president. I think he only missed 1 day of writing in his journal and that is when he was in the hospital after being shot.
Aaron Crofut
Jun 18, 2014 Aaron Crofut rated it liked it
A difficult book to rate. I wouldn't recommend trying to read it cover to cover; I didn't. It just gets too repetitive. But on the other hand, I would absolutely recommend anyone pick it up and read through a year or so, because this diary is unique among Presidents since the automobile was invented. It gives a pretty good idea of what the President actually does on an average day. He (or maybe, someday, she) spends hardly any time on any particular issue. There's only 24 hours in a day and some ...more
Oct 29, 2011 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
VERY interesting insight into the personal thoughts of Reagan during many significant events during his presidency. While not perfect, no doubt the best president during my lifetime.
Jun 12, 2009 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Really interesting view into the daily life of our 40th President. Seen here is a man who truly cared about his country, his family and God. Reagan strived to always do what was right.
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Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). Born in Illinois, Reagan moved to Los Angeles in the 1930s, where he became an actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and a spokesman for General Electric. Reagan became involved in politics during his work for G.E. and switched from the Democratic Party to the ...more
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“If you're explaining, you're losing.” 23 likes
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