Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency

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9780813340463: Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency

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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About the Author:

Peter Wallison is a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C. The author of several books, he is a frequent contributor to the op-ed pages of the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal , and the Washington Post . In 1981, he was appointed General Counsel of the Treasury, and from April 1986 to March 1987 was Counsel to the President.

From Publishers Weekly:

During his year as White House counsel, Wallison was able to witness President Reagan up close-as a man who defied the textbook model of a "great president." Unlike any other president to date, says Wallison, Reagan came to office with a firm and unique philosophy of government. While many accuse Reagan of ignorance and lack of interest, Wallison shows that the president was a man of ideas and conviction. When it came to his core beliefs-small federal government, tax cuts and a formidable defense policy-Reagan was unbending. When even his own staff members rallied against him, begging him to relent, Reagan shook his head and spoke of "staying the course." Wallison also defends Reagan's managerial style, in which he focused on his main agenda and delegated all other policy decisions to his staff. This, too, was due not to "cognitive limitations" but to a determination to focus on achieving several key principles. To his credit, Wallison is not blind to Reagan's faults, noting that the very qualities that allowed for his many successes also permitted the devastation wrought by the Iran-Contra affair. The author's recollection of the scandal is detailed and honest. Despite the personal nature of his book, Wallison's portrayal of Reagan is balanced and clear: he gives us a man who is fundamentally human, who made mistakes and yet achieved great things. 10 b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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