The Reagan Diaries
Ronald Reagan’s personal diaries will be published tomorrow.
Taegan Goddard notes this is “the first time a U.S. president’s diaries have been released.” The Politico‘s Mike Allen thinks it will shake up people’s conceptions.
“The Reagan Diaries,” a 767-page flashback to be published Tuesday, shows Ronald Reagan as few people knew him, jotting with candor during quiet times on Air Force One and in the privacy of the second-floor study off his White House bedroom.
The meticulous handwritten entries in five leather-bound volumes, now condensed to one for publication, provide thought bubbles for the iconic photographs of the Reagan presidency, showing what he was really thinking day by day through two terms of self-styled optimism and peace through strength, with his trademark jelly beans on the side.
The diaries, essentially a long letter the president wrote to himself, ran 450,000 words. He never missed a day except when he was shot, and even then went back and provided a description of how he initially thought his injury was a broken rib from the Secret Service agent pushing him onto the floor of the limousine.
Three years after Reagan’s death at 93, the books have been edited into a hardback volume by Douglas Brinkley, the Tulane University historian who condensed, annotated and indexed. The work captures a Reagan who was notably emotional about the youngsters and grieving families who so regularly cross a president’s path.
This struck me as particularly amusing:
The Reagans and the Bushes did not appear close to outsiders but he wrote at one point: “Tonite Geo. B & Barbara for dinner. A nice evening.” One Sunday, referring to his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel at the time of the 1986 royal wedding in England, “Well Mommie is on her way to Eng. & Rex & I are alone. The Bushes took pity on one of us (me) & invited me over for lunch.”
There should be a lot more very interesting insights, although 767 pages of daily reflections will be a tough slog.
UPDATE: Commenter Triumph notes that several other presidential diaries have been published. Indeed, Goddard must have quickly fact-checked himself, as the claim no longer exists in the post itself; I got it from his RSS summary.