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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 Hand presents 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.
Ronald Reagan may have been the most prolific correspondent of any American president since Thomas Jefferson. The total number of letters written over his lifetime probably exceeds 10,000. Their breadth is equally astonishing -- with friends and family, with politicians, children, and other private citizens, Reagan was as dazzling a communicator in letters as he was in person. Collectively, his letters reveal his character and thinking like no other source. He made candid, considerate, and tough statements that he rarely made in a public speech or open forum. He enjoyed responding to citizens, and comforting or giving advice or encouragement to friends. Now, the most astonishing of his writings, culled in Reagan: A Portrait in Letters, finally and fully reveal the true Ronald Reagan. Many of Reagan's handwritten letters are among the most thoughtful, charming, and moving documents he produced. Long letters to his daughter Patti, applauding her honesty, and son Ron Jr., urging him to be the best student he can be, reveal Reagan as a caring parent. Long-running correspondence with old friends, carried on for many decades, reveals the importance of his hometown and college networks. Heartfelt advice on love and marriage, fond memories of famous friends from Hollywood, and rare letters about his early career allow Reagan to tell his own full biography as never before. Running correspondence with young African-American student Ruddy Hines reveals a little-known presidential pen pal. The editors also reveal that another long-running pen-pal relationship, with fan club leader Lorraine Wagner, was initially ghostwritten by his mother, until Reagan began to write to Wagner himself some years later. Reagan's letters are a political and historical treasure trove. Revealed here for the first time is a running correspondence with Richard Nixon, begun in 1959 and continuing until shortly before Nixon's death. Letters to key supporters reveal that Reagan was thinking of the presidency from the mid-1960s; that missile defense was of interest to him as early as the 1970s; and that few details of his campaigns or policies escaped his notice. Dozens of letters to constituents reveal Reagan to have been most comfortable and natural with pen in hand, a man who reached out to friend and foe alike throughout his life. Reagan: A Life in Letters is as important as it is astonishing and moving.
In the last years of Ronald Reagan's life, his voluminous writings on politics, policy, and people finally emerged and offered a Rosetta stone by which to understand him. From 1975 to 1979, in particular, he delivered more than 1,000 radio addresses, of which he wrote at least 680 himself. When drafts of his addresses were first discovered, and a selection was published in 2001 as Reagan, In His Own Hand by the editors of this book, they caused a sensation by revealing Reagan as a prolific and thoughtful writer, who covered a wide variety of topics and worked out the agenda that would drive his presidency. What was missed in that thematic collection, however, was the development of his ideas over time. Now, in Reagan's Path to Victory, a chronological selection of more than 300 addresses with historical context supplied by the editors, readers can see how Reagan reacted to the events that defined the Carter years and how he honed his message in the crucial years before his campaign officially began. The late 1970s were tumultuous times. In the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate, America's foreign and domestic policies were up for grabs. Reagan argued against the Panama Canal treaties, in vain; against the prevailing view that the Vietnam War was an ignoble enterprise from the start; against détente with the Soviet Union; against the growth of regulation; and against the tax burden. Yet he was fundamentally an optimist, who presented positive, values-based prescriptions for the economy and for Soviet relations. He told many inspiring stories; he applauded charities and small businesses that worked to overcome challenges. As Reagan's Path to Victory unfolds, Reagan's essays reveal a presidential candidate who knew himself and knew his positions, who presented a stark alternative to an incumbent administration, and who knew how to reach out and touch voters directly. Reagan's Path to Victory is nothing less than a president's campaign playbook, in his own words.
The Strategy of Campaigningexplores the political careers of Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin, two of the most galvanizing and often controversial political figures of our time. Both men overcame defeat early in their political careers and rose to the highest elected offices in their respective countries. The authors demonstrate how and why Reagan and Yeltsin succeeded in their political aspirations, despite-or perhaps because of-their apparent "policy extremism": that is, their advocacy of policy positions far from the mainstream. The book analyzes the viability of policy extremism as a political strategy that enables candidates to forge new coalitions and outflank conventional political allegiances. Kiron K. Skinner is Associate Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Carnegie Mellon University, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a member of the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel and the National Security Education Board. Serhiy Kudelia is Lecturer of Politics at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine and advisor to Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is Julius Silver Professor and Director of the Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy at New York University and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Condoleezza Rice is on a leave of absence from Stanford University, where she was a Professor of Political Science and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is currently serving as U. S. Secretary of State.