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As the description indicates, this is about Reagan's Hollywood years. The real focus of the book is Reagan's early political training: his time on various political action committees during the blacklist era, his presidency of SAG, and his professional relationships with the powerful of Hollywood. The most powerful figure is Lew Wasserman, whom Eliot argues is the basis for the Godfather figure in Mario Puzo's novel, with Reagan as Johnny Fontane, sent into Las Vegas to give the place an air of respectability.
Although it is exhaustive, and occasionally exhausting, on the subject of political committees (you'll hear the name of every member of some committees), Eliot seems less interested in Reagan's movies, although he dutifully covers them. Except for the standout Kings' Row, he doesn't seem to think much of Reagan as an actor, although Reagan was better in some of these movies than Eliot lets on. Elliot does make a good case, however, that Reagan's upright and honest movie persona, honed in a series of B pictures at Warner Brothers, both reflected his personality and helped to shape the politician he later became. He also devotes time to the theme of Reagan's trying to find father figures to mentor him and to provide a model of success that he could emulate.
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This should be a more interesting book to listen to. It is an account of a part of Ronald Reagan's life that little is known about, and includes Hollywood, the studio system, movies and beautiful co-stars.
Instead, the listener is terribly distracted by the performance. Mr. Eliot reads this book like he is absolutely unfamiliar with the material. There are long gaps when he seems to have lost his page, and every third sentence contains the words "author's note". If a professional reader had been engaged, the story could have been more interesting and my mind wouldn't have drifted every time the reader got too close to the microphone.