Cover image for Reagan, in his own hand : the writings of Ronald Reagan that reveal his revolutionary vision for America
Reagan, in his own hand : the writings of Ronald Reagan that reveal his revolutionary vision for America
Reagan, Ronald.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 549 pages : facsimiles ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E838.5 .R432 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Until Alzheimer's disease wreaked its gradual destruction, Ronald Reagan was an inveterate writer. He wrote not only letters, short fiction, poetry, and sports stories, but speeches, newspaper articles, and radio commentary on public policy issues, both foreign and domestic.Most of Reagan's original writings are pre-presidential. From 1975 to 1979 he gave more than 1,000 daily radio broadcasts, two-thirds of which he wrote himself. They cover every topic imaginable: from labor policy to the nature of communism, from World War II to the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, from the future of Africa and East Asia to that of the United States and the world. They range from highly specific arguments to grand philosophy to personal stories.Even those who knew him best were largely unaware of Reagan's output. George Shultz, as he explains in the Foreword, was surprised when he first saw the manuscripts, but on reflection he really was not surprised at all. Here is definitive proof that Ronald Reagan was far more than a Great Communicator of other people's ideas. He was very much the author of his own ideas, with a single vision that he pursued relentlessly at home and abroad.Reagan,In His Own Handpresents this vision through Reagan's radio writings as well as other writings selected from throughout his life: short stories written in high school and college, a poem from his high school yearbook, newspaper articles, letters, and speeches both before and during the presidency. It offers many surprises, beginning with the fact that Reagan's writings exist in such size and breadth at all. While he was writing batches and batches of radio addresses, Reagan was also traveling the country, collaborating on a newspaper column, giving hundreds of speeches, and planning his 1980 campaign. Yet the wide reading and deep research self-evident here suggest a mind constantly at work. The selections are reproduced with Reagan's own edits, offering a unique window into his thought processes.These writings show that Reagan had carefully considered nearly every issue he would face as president. When he fired the striking air-traffic controllers, many thought that he was simply seizing an unexpected opportunity to strike a blow at organized labor. In fact, as he wrote in the '70s, he was opposed to public-sector unions using strikes. There has been much debate as to whether he deserves credit for the end of the cold war; here, in a 1980 campaign speech draft, he lays out a detailed vision of the grand strategy that he would pursue in order to encourage the Soviet system to collapse of its own weight, completely consistent with the policies of his presidency. Furthermore, in 1984, Reagan drafted comments he would make to Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko at a critical meeting that would eventually lead to history's greatest reductions in armaments.Ronald Reagan's writings will change his reputation even among some of his closest allies and friends. Here, in his own hand, Reagan the thinker is finally fully revealed.

Author Notes

Kiron K. Skinner is an assistant professor of history and political science at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Hoover Institution Research Fellow. She is also a Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and National Interest
Annelise Anderson has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 1983. In 1980 she was a senior policy adviser to the presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan, and from 1981 to 1983 she served as Associate Director for Economics and Government with the Office of Management and Budget
Martin Anderson is the Keith and Jan Hurlbut Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. After serving as a Special Assistant to Richard Nixon, he was a senior policy adviser to the 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, and served as chief domestic and economic policy adviser under President Reagan.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ronald Reagan is a puzzle: How, many wonder (and as Shultz puts it in his foreword), could he know so little and accomplish so much? The editors of this volume (two former Reagan advisers [Anderson and Anderson] and a historian [Skinner]) believe the question can be answered through Reagan's own writings. Associates describe Reagan as constantly writing, whether at home or in a hotel room, in a car or on a plane, recording his thoughts on the issues of the day. The product was almost always some form of public address, written and edited by hand. A collection of these manuscripts is presented here, just as Reagan wrote them, including his corrections and notes. With a few exceptions, they are very short radio commentaries delivered during the pre-presidential period (1975-1979), focusing mostly on foreign policy and the economy, and framed in terms of the general issue of government and freedom. There are no surprises; whether one sees Reagan as the great communicator, articulating deeply held convictions through the expression of simple but profound truths, or as the not-too-bright actor, painting a complex world in the reductionistic tones of black and white, one's expectations will be confirmed. In foreign policy Reagan is the essential Cold Warrior, understanding the world in terms of an "ideological struggle" between Communism and the proponents of freedom. In domestic policy he is the committed capitalist, always suspicious of government regulation and critical of taxation, and not above propagating theories of Communist conspiracy. Indeed, the uniformity of his outlook is quite remarkable, and whether one considers this a strength or a weakness this volume drives home the single-mindedness of the former president. (Feb. 6) Forecast: Given Reagan's enduring popularity, this could find a broad market, and a five-city author tour may pique readers' interest. Primarily, however, the book will appeal to serious students of history trying to put Reagan's ideas and ideology in historical context. First serial to the New York Times Magazine. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is a fascinating and valuable collection of Ronald Reagan's writings, from his youth up to his eloquent and moving final letter to the public announcing that he had Alzheimer's disease. Included are poems, short stories, speeches, columns, radio addresses, and other glimpses into the personality, character, and mind of one of the more important of the modern presidents. Taken together, these pieces suggest a breadth of mind not often attributed to Reagan. He remains a controversial figure whose legacy is still contested intellectual terrain. Reagan's supporters, intent on establishing a positive image for the former president, often title their works about him with words like great and outstanding. This effort follows in that fawning tradition by attributing a "revolutionary" vision to Reagan. But what is revealed here instead is rather mundane. By trying desperately to convince us that he was something that he clearly was not, the editors do both Reagan and his readers a disservice. However, this collection is an excellent glimpse into Reagan the man and the thinker. It will be useful for anyone who wishes to understand this important figure. [Reagan's 90th birthday is February 6.DEd].DMichael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

George P. Shultz
Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
A Note on Editorial Methodsp. xxv
Part 1 Reagan's Philosophyp. 1
Part 2 Foreign Policyp. 21
Communism, Asia, Europe, and the Soviet Unionp. 26
Defense and Intelligence Policyp. 64
Foreign Policy Double Standards, Human Rights, International Organizations, and Religionp. 129
The Third Worldp. 179
Part 3 Domestic and Economic Policyp. 219
Freedom and Governmentp. 224
The Economyp. 254
Energy, Land, and the Environmentp. 318
Educationp. 342
Social Security and Health Carep. 364
Social Issuesp. 375
Personal Storiesp. 409
Part 4 Other Writings Nov. 6, 1925-Nov. 5, 1994p. 421
Hallowe'enp. 423
Yale Comes Throughp. 424
Lifep. 426
Squallp. 427
Return to the Primitivep. 428
Killed in Actionp. 430
The Making of a Movie Starp. 433
Letter to the Editor of The Catholic Reporterp. 436
"Are Liberals Really Liberal?"p. 438
Speechp. 443
Letter to the Editor of the Pegasusp. 446
Speech on phone to YAF Convention in Houston, Texasp. 449
Letter to Dr. McDowellp. 453
On Portugalp. 456
Stump Speech Insertp. 457
Speech on Agriculturep. 466
"State of the Union" Speechp. 471
PEACEp. 480
Economic Speech--Address to the Nationp. 487
I.N.F. Negotiationsp. 493
"Mr. Minister"p. 496
Reagan's Goodbyep. 498
Appendix Ronald Reagan's Radio Addresses, 1975-79p. 501
Acknowledgmentsp. 527
Indexp. 531