Ronald Reagan, "Reagan" By Lou Cannon

1167 words - 5 pages

Cannon, Lou. Reagan. New York: Putnam, 1982.
     Lou Cannon has covered Ronald Reagan for thirty-six years, first as a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, later as the White House correspondent for the Washington Post. He began with covering Reagan's first campaign for governor of California in 1966 and continued until Reagan's recent death in 2004. His other books on Reagan include Ronnie and Jesse: A Political Odyssey, Ronald Reagan: The Presidential Portfolio, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power, and several others.
     After following and working closely with Reagan, Cannon forms an obvious relationship and opinion of him. Cannon admits that he "like(s) and respect(s) Ronald Reagan while remaining skeptical that his actions will achieve the results he intends," (Cannon, 1981, 15). Cannon writes that he was at first skeptical of Reagan's abilities to perform as president; specifically with foreign policy and his economic theories. However, Cannon argues that Reagan's presidency may mirror his governorship, "he started ineptly but soon evolved into a competent governor who was willing to sacrifice ideology for political achievement," (Cannon, 1981, 15). Because this book was written during Regan's first year as president, Cannon is unable to record complete evidence to support his own theory, although he accomplishes this in his following books about President Reagan. Cannon, an obvious conservative supporter of Reagan, includes criticisms and shortcomings of Reagan as well as praise. Cannon does not let his personal relationship skew his writings and has thus become known as Reagan's definitive biographer.
     Cannon's mission to provide an in depth biography of the nation's fortieth president and his ability to lead, begins by tracing Reagan's origins, his hopes and dreams, fears, achievements and failures. Cannon provides the reader with insight to Reagan's childhood and adolescent years and attempts to explain the beginnings of Reagan's motivations, optimism and determination. Cannon argues that much of Reagan's optimism, determination and political motivation spur from living through the Depression. Reagan sees the Depression as a national tragedy, not a personal one, and forever becomes enthralled with President Roosevelt's ability to renew self confidence and courage in the American people during the national crisis. Reagan works through college to able to attend and while at Eureka College, Reagan has his first personal taste of both politics and acting.
     As a young man, Reagan is cast as a 'B -list actor', goes through a public marriage and divorce, and serves on active duty in WWII. Cannon uses these experiences as evidence in Reagan's development as a driven individual. Cannon demonstrates Reagan's drive and political prowess in an example involving Reagan as...

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