Sunday, January 13, 2013

What I'm Reading

I highly, highly recommend you read When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan by Peggy Noonan (Viking Penguin: 2001).

It is outstanding. 

I've read a lot about Ronald Reagan and didn't think I could like him any more, but this biography has tremendously to my appreciation of the late President. She has weaved a tremendous number of sensitive and revealing anecdotes about Reagan into his life story, without coming off fawning or turning it into an attempted hagiography. His faults are revealed with many stories as well.

Here is something incredible, the Reagan boys learned from both their mother and father that all men were created equal. They had no tolerance for any ill talk about anybody being inferior because of their colour, religion or background. His father Jack, was an alcoholic but a very wise man indeed:

"Jack believed-really believed, didn't just say it-that all men are created equal. He believed racial and religious bias were cruel and un-American and he actually fought them in his life, an unusual thing in a white working-class-turn-of-the-century Midwesterner. Once Jack, on a shoe selling trip, went to check into a hotel and was told by the clerk that he'd be comfortable here, no Jews allowed. Jack got mad and told him off and spent the night in his car in a blizzard. (Ronald Reagan thought it led to his father's first heart attack.)"

Can you imagine?

She reprints "The Speech" and his speech about communism. The entire book reminds me of the United States right now, except that no conservative leader (at the moment) is rising to the occasion.

Noonan is an excellent writer and this book is a treasure.

I'm also reading (struggling actually) The Obamas, by Jodi Kantor. The reason that I am reading it is just to get an even clearer picture of the classless, disgusting thugs that inhabit the current American administration. It's painful reading, and Kantor reveals a lot of pretty disgusting things about the First Couple without even realizing it I suspect.