True Reagan: What Made Ronald Reagan Great and Why It Matters
WHAT MADE RONALD REAGAN TICK? What was the secret to his greatness, the source of his influence, the key to his character, the strength behind his leadership?
And why does it matter to the nation today?
Just the mention of his name still evokes deep admiration and affection among Americans of every stripe, on both sides of the aisle. Many have previously sought to capture the essence of this very public figure often called "mysterious and unknowable." But now, as James Rosebush tells Reagan's story from first-hand experience in TRUE REAGAN, we come closer to understanding the heart of this great American.
In his roles as the longest-serving Chief of Staff to Nancy Reagan and Deputy Assistant to President Reagan (his point man on philanthropy and public/private partnerships), James Rosebush had unrivaled one-on-one access to Reagan, observing his personality, his decision-making, his guarded nature. Rosebush's revelations are moving and meant to inspire us to look to our 40th President for guidance now as we face the global challenges of a complicated 21st century.
Ronald Reagan was first and foremost an intensely private person, although the life he led placed him at the center of people's attention from his earliest years. Small-town boy and college athlete, sportscaster and lifelong sports fan, actor and movie star, union leader and TV spokesman, Democrat and Republican, governor and president: what an incredible and extraordinary path. Rosebush tells how his center core was formed by his mother, who devoted herself to helping others even as the Reagans struggled themselves. The spiritual foundation she instilled in him by teaching him the Bible governed his thoughts, beliefs and actions all his life.
In a very real sense, his upbringing destined Reagan to become a global evangelist for American Exceptionalism - but importantly, as Rosebush learned first-hand, that did not mean Reagan thought Americans themselves were superior, as today's pundits and politicians often preach. Rather, Reagan believed that the ideals of America's founding were superior, enabling all Americans to live lives based on high ideals and spiritual principles, and thus achieve unparalleled success. Reagan was uniquely able to lead from true conviction and strength, his confidence stemming from an unshakeable fundamental belief system.
Better understanding the essence of this inspiring and principled leader is critical to our future. Journey back with Rosebush through the innumerable examples he recounts from first-hand observation and marvel once again at TRUE REAGAN.
with it in their assessment of him as a leader. A specific example of the relationship between the bridge-building goals embedded in the broad themes in his speeches and of resulting policy was his plan of action for disarming communism and ending the Cold War. In this work, he was an effective strategist who was methodically and patiently building his case for the ultimate defeat of what he considered an inhumane ideology. During his first term and early in his second term, his growing
reacting in fear. Watching him take control of an unexpected and unfriendly question was one of the most important lessons I learned about communication. Reagan thought that tough questions should be welcomed—and actually encouraged—because they helped clarify the ideas being communicated. Reagan was not always fast on his feet in a rugged questioning session, but he knew enough not to surrender the podium in weakness. I remember asking Margaret Thatcher, another master of stagecraft, why she
had a walk with God to the degree I had never seen in anyone else—and I have met and known many God-fearing and prayerful people in my life. It was quiet and confident. That was what he kept inside. That was what he kept as unknowable and unshared with the outside world. This was the essence of the man—not his intellect, although surely he had a fine one, but his spiritual perspective, his walk with his God. This was the inner force that animated him, directed him, spoke to him, comforted him,
Germany. A fateful, gray day that included a controversial eight-minute stop at a cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, where Nazi SS soldiers were buried. The visit created a small firestorm of controversy. The start of bridge building with Gorbachev. The Reagans hosted Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, for dinner at the first summit between the two leaders. The handwritten note to my five-year-old daughter that Reagan penned from his hospital bed. “Dear Claire, Thank you very much for my card. You
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