Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reagan Hagiography

The book How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, by Peter Robinson, is a hagiography as well as a self-help book and a memoir, with a quite commercialised, upbeat name. Peter Robinson gives in his book an insight to Ronald Reagan’s stay at the White House from his position of a former White House Speech writer. In the book there is a weird feel of Robinson’s relationship with the Democratic Party. He uses what he learnt from observing Reagan’s life, his decisions and motivations that make up a book, which includes a certain amount of lessons for life, so to say.

While researching this book I found a short review on it, which describes the book short but concisely. The review is quite critical on the book’s exact purpose but achieves to show however, that Robinson uses the bad decisions as well as the good as a guideline to his book. He doesn’t, however, acknowledge the bad decisions, which becomes very obvious, “especially as he glosses over Reagan's shortcomings ("Now, I myself was never able to get worked up over the deficits," Robinson says). (Editorial Review - Reed Business Information (c) 2003) Robinson was a man who got the job of a speechwriter for the White House, straight out of college. He was young, inexperienced and in need of a boss/role model, his turned out to be Reagan. Another article on the book describes the book as having an interesting perspective, therefore interesting to read, but in no ways a ‘reliable’, ‘non-biased’ source of information on Reagan’s presidency, due to his position. It ended up being a book that would help Reagan-haters understand a Reagan-fan’s point of view.

So whether you are a Reagan fan looking for further insights or a Reagan detractor trying to figure what the other side sees in him or somewhere in between, Robinson provides a personal and insightful view into Reagan's life, character, and leadership. As a result he helps us understand both Reagan the President and Reagan the man.

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I therefore chose this book as an example of a Reagan hagiography, a fan-based book, with very little constructive criticism to Reagan’s time of serving in the 1980’s. It has a comical feel to its lay-out, very much a ‘light-read’, not completely a useless book but more designed for a Reagan-loving type of audience, people who have always and only seen Reagan as a hero, an icon of America’s 20th century history.

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