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This is a very interesting book that never gets bogged down. Although 30+ hours long, Brands narrative and Hoye's performance move along at a quick pace and I was left wanting more. Author H.W. Brands spends relatively more time on two aspects of Reagan's presidency: his face-to-face negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland and the mismanagement that led to the Iran-Contra affair, both of which were fascinating, but for different reasons.
One cannot help buy compare any presidential biography with Robert Caro's soon-to-be five volume biography on Lyndon Johnson. Caro's LBJ is to presidential biographies as Beethoven's 9th symphony is to later symphonic works--they are the gold standard. Brands does not provide the depth or context that Caro does and there were times when I wish he did. For example, I would have liked Brands to provide a contextual analysis of deterrence and nuclear weapons--a recurring topic in this book--in the same way that Caro provided background on Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the life-changing impact of rural electrification in southwest Texas.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I thought I was going to hear a bio of President Reagan, but surprisingly, this is not the case. The author continually drifted into historical tangents with nothing to do with Ronald Reagan. I understand some background needs to be included to let the reader understand the subject but there is more written about others than the subject.
I enjoy history so it was not painful and sometimes even enjoyable but I just don't feel like I know President Reagan better than I knew before the book.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this very much. Some may say it did not go into the details of a Conrad Black or Walter Isaacson. However, it did give a good flavour of the character of Reagan. It also told the good and the bad. Very enjoyable.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful