Friday, February 1, 2013

Book 4: The Reagan Diaries

The Reagan Diaries was a real treat to read but a dense read. Ronald Reagan was definitely interesting and I think  Douglas Brinkley did a great job to help edit down the diaries into a 784 page book.

I’m an eighties child. I remember stuff about Reagan from when he was in office in a vague sense. Not a ton since he was out of office when I was 4.  But I do remember him. More importantly, I have studied many of Reagan’s actions in classes over the years.  I have a Master’s of Public and International Affairs who studied security and intelligence.  Reagan is so important in regards to MADD, breaking down the Soviet Union, and serious hard core intelligence. So I have a healthy respect for the former president.   But it was still really interesting to read back and saw his daily ideas of stuff.

What I loved about this book is the ability to see the human side to him. He wasn’t quite what I expected in a way. He saw both sides of the situation oh so often. He was madly in love with his wife and hated whenever they were apart.  He used to get mad at his kids whenever they complained too much about the secret service. He wanted to protect his kids from the different threats that he knew about from intelligence reports but yet he understood that he couldn’t make the secret service lives miserable as well.

One of the things that surprised me was despite his busy schedule,  Nancy and him would watch a lot of movies and he would try to go Camp David every weekend. I knew he was actor, so he would have a healthy respect for the art but he really took it to the next level.  He loved horseback riding and being on the ranch. Then again a president is like anybody else, they need time to relax and do activities that recharge their batteries.

There were two things that were a real treat for me. His writing transitions about the day or lack of a coherent transition. He literally would talk about the arm deals that were worrisome and how Jack Lemmon was a terrific actor.  I do that, if it’s on my mind, I include it and sometimes the transitions are nonexistent.

The other things that I really enjoyed was noting the differences between the 80s and today. Some of it was really small things or things I take for granted. Like jeans,  he would break them in by going swimming in them and then letting them dry to his body. For me, I buy the most comfortable jeans from White House Black Market, no breaking in required.  Another thing was the movies, he would get upset if a movie showed drug use (like smoking a joint in 9 to 5) or used crude language since he acted in an era with heavy censorship to different shots. Now days, drug usage isn’t very popular in movies (but alluded to often) and strong language is more or less the norm.  

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