Insiders' Recollections from Sacramento to the White House
The force of Reagan's character and outsized personality has made us overlook the important role and knowledge of his supporting cast. Jeffrey Chidester and Stephen Knott have performed a valuable service in synthesizing the extensive oral histories they compiled over the last decade. At Reagan's Side will become a standard reference work for future historians of Reagan. -- Steven F. Hayward, University of California, Berkely Stephen Knott and Jeffrey Chidester have produced a balanced, insightful, rare gem of scholarship on Ronald Reagan, drawn from the people who knew the man and worked closely with him. The primary-source information in this book is a treasure trove of must-read material on President Reagan. . . . Knott and Chidester rightly appreciate the impact, importance, and influence of the Reagan person and presidency . . . in an engaging, readable style. -- Paul Kengor, Grove City College, author of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism With both fondness and a clear effort at objectivity, the authors largely let the interviewees speak for themselves, including high-ranking officials like Caspar Weinberger, Edwin Meese and James Baker. Discussion is candid, but often contradictory; indeed, the most interesting and revealing moments of the book come from the discrepancies, invariably tied to the era's most famous controversies: SDI, Iran-Contra, the Cold War. * Publishers Weekly * The book is full of insights into Reagan's character and principles and the achievements and failures of the Reagan years. It also offers behind-the-scenes surprises, such as a moment of praise from Reagan for Jesse Jackson....Many will find it useful. * Library Journal * Beginning in 2001, scholars of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia conducted an oral history of Ronald Reagan's political years, beginning with his first campaign for governor of California through his last public speech in 1993...Mr. Knott and Mr. Chidester...intersperse their narrative with quotations - short and long - from the oral history interviewees. These comments provide colorful, lively texture to the Reagan story. Here are insights into his thinking, his character and his management style...At Reagan's Side is good reading from cover to cover and adds positively to the Reagan library. * The Washington Times * Drawing upon interviews with some of Ronald Reagan's closest associates, Chidester and Knott present a fascinating political and personal portrait of our 40th president. These recollections recall the major events of Reagan's political career and elucidate the remarkable strengths-and, occasionally, the limitations-of a president whose leadership qualities were controversial in his day and still are. The authors make a strong case for Reagan's ranking as a 'near great' president. The book is a worthy addition to the literature on Reagan and is a sheer pleasure to read. -- Charles Walcott, Virginia Tech
Stephen F. Knott is associate professor of National Security Studies at the United States Naval War College. Jeffrey L. Chidester is Chair of the National Discussion and Debate Series for Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.
Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 1. Mr. Reagan Goes to Sacramento Chapter 4 2. Governor Reagan Chapter 5 3. "There is No Substitute for Victory" Chapter 6 4. Mr. Reagan Goes to Washington Chapter 7 5. From Evil Empire to Iran Contra Chapter 8 6. The Man Behind the Wall Chapter 9 7. Tearing Down the Wall Chapter 10 8. "The Sunset of My Life" 11 Appendix A. Ronald Reagan Oral History Project Scholars 12 Appendix B. List of Interviews Conducted 13 Bibliography 14 Index