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The Reagan Diaries

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,980 ratings  ·  252 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 ...more
Hardcover, 784 pages
Published June 25th 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published May 22nd 2007)
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 ·  2,980 ratings  ·  252 reviews


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Robert A. Smith
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Dan Myers
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Shan
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Chris Munson
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
srdjan
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Mike
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Erwin
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
mundane.
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
...more
Mark Mortensen
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Karen
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Dave
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Robert White
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Bryce Rausch
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Debbie
Dec 03, 2015 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.
Kellie
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
Lynn Smith
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very good read. It is also detailed, covering 1981 through the last day Reagan was in office in January 1989 so it's over 700 pages. If you don't want that much detail, then you might want to get some type of chronology of the Reagan years and read entries for specific dates that are interesting to you (such as his reactions after he was shot, the Challenge accident, etc). Ronald Reagan kept a diary while he was in the White House and it reveals many things about the man. He loved ...more
Sasha
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: real-life
It’s really hard to figure out how many stars for this one. I’m conflicted on so many levels.

My goal has been to read (actually listen) one book by each president from my lifetime this year. I knew I was going to struggle with this one.

Reagan was the president of my childhood and in that childhood the grandparents I adored were huge Reagan supporters. Naturally I thought the man hung the moon because they did. As a grown up i now see the big flaws of his presidency. Unfortunately reading his
...more
Kevin Brownsey
Jul 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Brian
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
TheRose
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Don Stanton
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aaron Million
Jan 08, 2012 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.
Dameon Huber
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
Barbie
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Kevin Morse
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this glimpse into the daily life of a president. Too short in some places, but the personal touches were what made it worthwhile.
Kimberly
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Love revisiting this one.
Jlrider1yahoo.com
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Listened to the audio book. Very interesting. A little weird at first, it was like Virgil Flowers was the narrator...
Matt
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ronald Reagan was surely one of the great politicians of the latter 20th century. Love him or hate him, he defined the United States in the 1980s, sandwiched between the Carter and Bush single-administrations. While historians depict the 40th President differently, his daily diary offers a personal and in-depth picture of his thoughts throughout the eight years he occupied the White House. With the help of Brinkley’s editing, the reader is treated to a detailed narrative about the political ...more
Jill
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Clem
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: u-s-presidents
When anyone (myself, anyway) first buys one of those Amazon Kindles, it’s very tempting to spend hours each day browsing through all of the free and/or bargains that are available. For a brief time, this book was advertised at only $1.99. How can you pass up a deal like that? Especially when the regular price was about 8 or 9 times that amount. And, unlike a real book, Kindles purchases that you decide you didn’t need are much easier to be disposed of after your initial disappointment.

...more
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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
“If you're explaining, you're losing.” 32 likes
“I spoke to ears that refused to hear.” 12 likes
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