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summary An American Life 108 ô [Reading] ➶ An American Life By Ronald Reagan – Ronald Reagan is an American success story From modest beginnings in a small midwestern town to a distinguished career in films and television he lived the American dream; as governor of California an Ronald Reagan is an American success story From S life and his beliefs with uncompromising candor and his familiar An American Epubwit He discusses his decision to run for president historic meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev and other heads of state his frustrations in dealing with an often hostile congress his unshakable faith in the American people and the enduring love for Nancy who will always be his Fir. Big 752 page book Reagan's autobiography written after two terms as California Governor and two as US President plus sports caster and actor I never understood people writing autobiographies in mid life One reason I read this is that I've always felt bad about dissing Ron and Nancy in an essay I wrote while living in Africa some insipid little comment about Nancy consulting a horoscope So part of my reason was to approach this President's book as a mea culpa exercise I'm glad I did I find that I typically regret making what appeared to be sharp witty ascerbic comments about leaders at a given time only to regret them later while any time I've been able to express mercy understanding tolerance and openness I've not regretted those stances even if disappointed laterRight off the bat I found Reagan's style of speaking coming through again in his writing No doubt he had much help writing or editing but I can clearly hear his voice from TV and radio back in the 80's contained within his writing warm inviting with conviction yet conversationalSecond I was struck how humbly he wrote of his many many many experiences and contented or philosophically content perhaps as he looked back He wrote from this contented standpoint in that he tried as hard as he could to act consistently with his principles And even when he failed he could write honestly of disappointment and with apologies In either case success or failure or often he repeatedly talked about shades of success and failure mixed in various proportions it was always in such a way that the reader could tell Reagan did not believe that the whole world rose or fell according to his actions realistically that he was a player on a much larger journey that continues as actors come and goSurprises He came across with much Christian views of faith than I remember publicly and that in his most forceful criticism of the book he was still angry with the actions of Israel led by Begin and General Ariel Sharon back in the early 80s when he believed there was opportunity for middle east peace Indeed his recurring encounters with middle east conflicts and turmoil left him with a broad sorrow that could not be accomplished Anwar Sadat of Egypt was one he greatly admired Reagan gave an honest or at least coherent accounting of the Iran Contra affair helpful for me to get the details clear at any rate And of course Reagan provided his thoughts on many controversial aspects of his administration especially those involving Central America conflicts and US support or resistanceReagan spent several chapters on the rearming of America and its subseuent economic pressure put on the Soviet Union his negotiations with at least three if not 4 Soviet leaders they kept dying on him ending with Gorbachev and arms reductions This really seemed like Reagan's most important contribution in his mind was the path he helped create to reduce nuclear arms significantly and the complexity and sensitive negotiation dynamics we probably under appreciate 20 years later SDI star wars defenses cruise missile deployment in Europe etc all were in Reagan's mind part of a chess match to move away from an even great idiocy Mutual Assured Destruction as a strategic foundationI'm the first to realize Reagan was and is a controversial President and public figure in that he was both effective and very clear on his perspective of government vs private enterprise of good and evil and personal responsibility vs social oppression all of which were affronts to sizable segments of America and the world But that is the point I suspect of why he looms large still a leader whether one agreed with him or notThe book is another of those I thought I knew himthe issue but I found that I didn't know or remember nearly as much as I thought

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Ronald Reagan is an American success story From modest beginnings in a small midwestern town to a distinguished career in films and television he lived the American dream as governor of California and as the century's most popular president he embodied and revitalized the American spirit Now in this dramatic and revealing memoir Ronald Reagan recounts both hi. I had barely turned two years of age when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the fortieth President of the United States He will always be my standard for what a president should look and sound like because he was the first one I had Still I am a moderate liberal and have many criticisms of Mr Reagan's domestic policies Here are the pros cons and final assessment of this fascinating memoirsThe ProsMr Reagan earned his moniker The Great Communicator He is a natural storyteller and there were many passages I read where I could practically hear him reading to me The pace is uick and unlike Bill Clinton's My Life Reagan wisely refrains from name checking everyone whose hand he ever shook on the campaign trail An American Life is organized thematically rather than chronologically meaning it's fairly simple to follow any one subject through from its origins to either its conclusion or at least its state as of the writing of this book Given the sporadic nature of diplomatic progress a purely chronological account would have been a nightmare to read Reagan's language is very simple and accessible and he freuently cites his own expansive journal entries as well as letters written to and from Mikhail Gorbachev among others The most successful part of the book is that Reagan in his own words makes a legitimate argument for his perspective on things As a child of the 80s I saw the world very differently than did my president It was nice to read for myself why he felt the way he did about certain issues and what his intentions wereThe ConsThe book feels comprehensive unless you pay enough attention or happen to have knowledge of events outside the scope of the book The first 200 plus pages are dedicated to Mr Reagan's life prior to becoming president They often touch on his family but it appears that by the time he was convinced to run for governor of California his family all but disappears from the narration It very subtly suggests an image of a man who became increasingly insulated from the rest of the world; everyone except the First Lady and his Secretary of State I would have liked to read him at least acknowledge some of the unintended negative conseuences of his policies such as the reduction of funding to help mentally and emotionally disturbed poor stay in treatment centers and this is absent entirely In fact Reagan does not seem interested in or perhaps even capable of admitting to anything negative how else could the man who was president at the time of the first identified case of HIVAIDS go an entire 726 pages and not mention it at allAs a Democrat I was also disappointed to read Mr Reagan's characterization of my side of the political spectrum For a man whose legacy is built on his ability to relate to opponents as people and to work on building support through emphasizing humanity it is remarkable to read the absolute disdain he held for his political opposition in Washington He mentions Democrats several times but never does he discuss any kind of effort at cooperating with them He doesn't even try to suggest that they rebuffed his overtures they're simply working entirely to defeat his every well intentioned act as president and he takes his case to the people to put enough pressure on them to get his way How could the same man that dedicated himself to establishing historic arms reduction agreements with the USSR not do to get along with his own governmentThe Bottom LineI have come away from An American Life feeling that I better understand Mr Reagan's motives as president I no longer regard him as uncaring hiding anti poorracistrich old white man ism behind the rhetoric of conservatism and states's rights I believe now that he did not intend any of the at times cruel conseuences of his presidency For those who were already fans of Mr Reagan this book is a given For those like me who were not I still recommend taking the opportunity to read his side of things I haven't abandoned my ideals but I have asked new uestions of them and that is the essence of An American Life

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An American LifeSt Lady In a moving passage President Reagan also speaks frankly about the assassination attempt on his life and its effects on him and his family An American Life is a richly detailed definitive account of a great and historic presidency and of a uniue American Life from the man who restored America's confidence and strength and shaped the future of the worl. A strong 3 stars with points off due to the length of the book and some repetition Overall a good primer on historic events which I was too young to follow as they were happening The direct excerpts from letters and notes does help extend the credibility Reagan Smash