President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination is the story of an accomplished politician, a bold, even reckless leader, a gambler, a man who imagined an American past and an American future, and made them real. He is a man of ideas who changed the world for better or worse, a man who understands that words are often more important than deeds. Reeves shows a man who understands how to be President, who knows that the job is not to manage the government but to lead the nation. In many ways, a quarter of a century later, he is still leading. As his vice president, George H. W. Bush, said after Reagan was shot and hospitalized in 1981: "We will act as if he were here."
In focusing on the key moments of the Reagan presidency, Reeves recounts the amazing resiliency of Ronald Reagan, the real "comeback kid". Here is a 70-year-old man coming back from a near-fatal gunshot wound, from cancer, from the worst recession in American history. Then, in personal despair as his administration was shredded by the lying and secrets of hidden wars and double-dealing, he was able to forge one of history's amazing relationships with the leader of "the Evil Empire". That story is told for the first time using the transcripts of the Reagan-Gorbachev meetings, the climax of an epic story, as if he were here.
©2005 Reeves-O'Neill, Inc.; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"A compelling read, fast-paced and scrupulously fair. The account of the Iran-contra affair is particularly gripping. Anybody who is interested in Reagan's extraordinary presidency needs to reckon with Reeves." (The New York Times Book Review)
"This is the imagined president, the facade emerging triumphant after eight years in office, affecting the sense, more contrived, some said, then real, of great battles won and great beasts slain." (Publishers Weekly)
The most startling thing you'll find in this Audiobook is the uncanny way the narrator, George Wilson, has of switching from a straight "read" to suddenly channeling Reagan's voice during quotes. He's not doing an "impression" or an over the top mimicry. You know that its not quite Reagan's voice, but the similarities are so strong that it instantly summons memories of the man that help to "fill in" the audio portrait. Great job.
As for the book, I thought it avoided being partisan, and showed that Reagan stuck to his political principles, while being able to alter his views, particularly when confronted with a person embodying the other side.
I had suspicions about a liberal journalist's ability to restrain himself from using the press's present-day assumption that anything 'republican' must be depicted as inept, moronic, evil, or just wrong. By ch 8, Reeves begins to subtly paint Reagan as presenile, assuming him to be increasingly unable to command. By the ch 16, Reeves has reduced Reagan to a puppet of his handlers.
Wilson's narration takes on a tongue-in-cheek tone (see Double Whammy), which conveys Reeves' contempt for Reagan and his pleasure in highlighting Reagan's staff's dysfunction.
Reeves abandons his early nod to 'Reagan the visionary' in order to reinvent Reagan as merely a symbol of personal hope for the naive and unsophisticated, not one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.
Say something about yourself!
I have a new and more Informed Admiration President Reagan
I enjoyed the entire book. I have no favorite scene.
London Arizona man
The author is strong on facts and does a very good job on setting the stage for the various issues/crises.
However, the author continuously writes about how Reagan's mental ability was slipping and that Reagan repeats rhetoric, jokes and anecdotes to those he comes in contact with.
Is the author slipping or just pulling a Reagan?
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