Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan

By William E. Pemberton | Go to book overview

1
Growing Up in the Heartland, 1911-1937

From 1937 when Ronald Wilson Reagan staffed in his first film in Hollywood until 1989 when he finished his second term as president, he remained a mystery even to his closest friends and associates. Historian Edmund Morris, Reagan's official biographer, once told the president that after years of studying, observing, and talking to him, he remained an enigma. Reagan, in his best "aw shucks" manner, said, "But, I'm an open book.""Yes, Mr. President," Morris replied, "but all your pages are blank."1

Reagan's friends found that this most charming and seemingly open of men carefully guarded a private core that no one could penetrate. He struck most observers as rather passive, even lazy, and he never openly displayed any hunger for money, fame, or power. Yet he emerged from the poverty and obscurity of small-town Illinois to become a major world leader. He acquired a college education during the Great Depression, won regional fame in radio during the 1930s, and went on to become a movie and television star. He led Hollywood actors during the postwar Red Scare, established himself as the undisputed leader of the American conservative movement in the 1960s, served as governor of California for two terms, and won two terms as president of the United States, leaving office as one of the

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Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • THE RIGHT WING IN AMERICA ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Series Editor's Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Growing Up in the Heartland, 1911-1937 3
  • 2 - Finding Fame and Fortune in Hollywood, 1937-1966 21
  • 3 - The Turn Toward Conservatism, 1947-1980 44
  • 4 - Governing California, 1967-1974 64
  • 5 - Changing the National Agenda, 1981 85
  • Managing Big Government, 1981-1985 105
  • 7 - Facing Defeats, Winning Victories, 1982-1989 125
  • 8 - Engaging the Soviets, 1981-1985 149
  • 9 - Coping with Scandal, Exiting with Honor, 1985-1989 172
  • 10 - Evaluating Reagan 198
  • Notes 215
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 283
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