Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The essence of the man

The Heritage Foundation send my wife and I a signed copy of Lee Edwards' new book, The Essential Ronald Reagan, as thanks for help with a local project. This is a short (155 page) overview of Reagan's life, including in the introduction both the North Carolina turnaround in his 1980 presidential bid and the worldwide response to his death in June 2004, by a long-time biographer of the president.

I have a longer review being considered by a state news magazine, but I can say one of the most impressive things I learned about Reagan is that the "intellectual lightweight" reputation was totally an invention of a hostile media. Reagan was actually very well-informed, a voracious reader from the start, but a genius at distilling complex issues into a few key principles. This gave him a clarity of thought and expression that more "nuanced" commentators disdain as shallowness, while in fact it was part of his strength.

An excellent book with an interesting critique of other works on Reagan, including Edmund Morris' authorized biography, Dutch (Edwards found it disappointing).

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