I am not much of a history buff, but there are certain people in history that I find myself drawn to learn more about, they have a bit of mysticism toI am not much of a history buff, but there are certain people in history that I find myself drawn to learn more about, they have a bit of mysticism to me that draws me to want to learn more about them: Lincoln, Katherine Hepburn, Reagan, Hilary Clinton, to name a few. It's not so much what they accomplished, or what they stand for, because, as I've already said, I'm not a history buff and other than the broad and well known basics, I actually don't know a lot about them, their times, or their accomplishments.
Reagan is to me one of the oddest ones for me to be drawn to because, of all the people whose history I want to know more of, his one of the ones I know least about to start with. He was the president when I was a child, but I was too young to remember his election and really too young to even remember the major historical events that occurred during his presidency - especially since I don't really pay any attention to that kind of thing on a general basis.
To this end though, reading his diary was perfect (acutally listening to it on audio). What I really wanted to learn about was the man himself: what were his thoughts behind all the big decisions, what makes him the kind of person that people still talk about today, the kind of person that can be an actor and later the president, and in that I was not disappointed.
This diary was certainly very abrupt and basic, even at many times dry. There was not a lot of detail into the historical events of which Reagan discusses and alludes to, it is assumed you know these things, and so much of this went over my head. But, throughout it all, you get a real feel for how very thoughtful and compassionate Reagan was. He was smart, insightful, and certainly a man of convictions. I think this is why I was drawn to want to learn more about him. In today’s political environment, it is a rare and almost unheard of event to find a man who stands by his promises, works to fulfill them, holds his ground even when those closest to him are pushing for him to give in, all because he made a promise he believed in and he intends to fulfill it. This is not an easy accomplishment for anyone, and I imagine it’s especially difficult for the president. He had a way about him that allowed him to deal with people on a personal level, even when facing a political battle. He could relate to his opponents and find ways to accomplish his goal without resulting to brute force. It seemed more important to him to accomplish the goal than to get credit for accomplishing it, and that I think is what made him so successful.
Reagan certainly didn’t get it perfect, and I know there are those out there who feel he botched the job completely, but in reading these diaries, you can see he meant well, and truly gave it his best shot. In this alone, I believe that makes him one of the most successful president’s in American history, and a memorable man. He wasn’t in it for the power and prestiege, he was in it to affect change for the greater good, and at least in my opinion he accomplished that better than many of the president’s that have come before and after him – including the current one.
I originally began reading this with my 10 year old daughter thinking it was an "easy reader" type autobiography. That is not the case at all and we qI originally began reading this with my 10 year old daughter thinking it was an "easy reader" type autobiography. That is not the case at all and we quit reading it part way through b/c it was boring for her and too difficult for me to read aloud to her b/c I had to keep stopping to explain so much. However, I kept reading after we quit, and I liked it so much better when reading it on my own.
Helen has such a unique perspective on life, and her writing is so poetic and reflective. She says herself, and I believe you can tell, that she was well read, and many of her own thoughts are "borrowed" from her readings, but only in the sense that her thoughts on things sound just like they came out of poetry, or a very elegant book. Near the end of the story when she lists some of the many books she has read, I began to understand why she wrote the way she did, but I loved it. Helen was a remarkable woman and achieved a lot more than most do with a full compliment of senses. To hear her story from her perspective was very interesting.
That said, there were many parts that were boring to me and I found myself glossing over. There were whole chapters where she presented a story about something but went into such great detail about a person and her opinion of that person/situation, that it was too much. It was almost as if she took the opportunity when writing this book to clear the air on certain events, or to pay tribute to someone, and it gave the feel of an editorial or personal letter, more than a telling of her own life story. While I can partially understand this, and it did lend a degree of personality, it also became boring.
Overall though, I thought this was an interesting read and very fast (when you're not trying to read it to a 10 year old). I do recommend it, Helen Keller was a remarkable woman, and the mere fact that she even wrote an autobiography warrants due credit....more
This book is the story of Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewis as told by Jerry Lee Lewis. It starts when Jerry was a boy, focuses mainly on the 10 years DThis book is the story of Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewis as told by Jerry Lee Lewis. It starts when Jerry was a boy, focuses mainly on the 10 years Dean & Jerry were partners, including how they got together, how they broke up, and all the good and bad times in between. The book also covers a brief synopsis of what happens to each of them following their break up, going all the way forward to their reconciliation and ultimately Dean's death. The parts of their lives where they were apart focus more heavily on Jerry's side of things naturally, but overall I thought this was a very honest, well told account of each of their lives. The title is so accurately named and you can sense their love for one another throughout the whole book. Before reading this I didn't know much about either one of them, other than their names and that they were famous (I'm obviously a bit young for their time). I knew of Dean mainly as a singer, and thought Jerry was a comedian of some kind but had no idea what he'd done other than his telethon and hadn't seen or heard (that I knew of) any of their works. It turns out I've heard many of Dean's songs, and thanks to Netflix I've now seen several of their other works including their TV show and several of their movies both together and apart. Both were amazing men with a fantastic story to tell and this book made me fall in love with them and their stories. This is a well written work and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it on CD. I felt all their ups and downs right along with them. When they got together and experienced all their big breaks, I felt their joy, and when they broke up I felt their sadness. When a writer can make you feel their emotions, their story is well told, and this one was well told....more
This was a really fast read and it was so interesting. I have not read any other Lucille Ball biographies and have only seen a handful of her shows. BThis was a really fast read and it was so interesting. I have not read any other Lucille Ball biographies and have only seen a handful of her shows. But she is such an icon that I wanted to learn more. Lucille is a great story teller and her life, in my opinion, was fascinating from the very start, so this book is captivating from beginning to end. I really enjoyed the foreward by her daughter as well; I think that really completed the story. ...more