An icon of the twentieth century, Ronald Reagan has earned a place among the most popular 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 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 stubborn and unyielding attachment only to certain key ideas--communicated in 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 issues he viewed as secondary to his agenda. This leadership style contributed to Reagan's accomplishments and missteps, drawing criticism 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 American confidence--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 determination to stay the course produced both the worst and best days of his presidency.
Peter J. Wallison is a resident fellow at AEI.