An icon of the twentieth century, Ronald Reagan has earned a place among the most popular and successful U.S. presidents. In this compelling firsthand account of Reagan’s presidency, Peter J. Wallison, former White House Counsel to President Reagan, asserts that Reagan took office with a fully developed public philosophy and strategy for governing that was unique among modern presidents. “I am not a great man,” Reagan once said, “just committed to great ideas.” Wallison shows how Reagan’s unyielding attachment to certain key ideas — communicated through his speeches — created a cohesive administration and revived the spirit of the nation. Reagan limited his personal efforts to those issues he considered central to his presidency, choosing to delegate to his cabinet and staff those matters he viewed as secondary to his agenda. This leadership style was responsible for Reagan’s accomplishments, but also for his missteps and the criticism he received from his detractors. During his presidency, Reagan experienced both enormous success — in the unprecedented growth of the economy, the first arms reduction agreement with the former Soviet Union, and the revival of confidence in America — and near disaster in the Iran-Contra affair. In Ronald Reagan , Wallison describes what it was like to be on Reagan’s White House staff and how Reagan’s attachment to principle produced both the best and worst days of his presidency.
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