Oral Histories of Reagan Offer Glimpse of President
In conjunction with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Miller Center has been interviewing Reagan administration officials since 2001 and recently released more than 2,500 pages of transcripts.
The interviewees include such well-known figures as former secretary of state George P. Shultz, former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger, Reagan treasury secretary and White House chief of staff James A. Baker III and longtime Reagan political adviser Stuart Spencer, as well as lesser-known officials who had close access to the president and who provided intimate reminiscences of his presidency.
These are the recollections of Reagan loyalists, who offer generally positive portraits of the president, but not always. Reagan is at once human, detached, strong and malleable -- determined to bankrupt the Soviets with a costly arms race; baffled and humbled by the Iran-contra affair; influenced by his wife, Nancy; quick with a joke or story; indifferent to the details of many of his administration's policies.
Stephen Knott, an associate professor at Virginia and the Reagan project team leader, said Reagan's weaknesses -- as well as his strengths -- were evident from the interviews, but Knott said he was struck by the consistent description of Reagan's decency, describing him as "utterly without guile." "This man is the anti-Nixon to the core," Knott said. "It's kind of refreshing that someone seemingly this decent can rise to the top of the American political system. The man had his weaknesses, but as a human being, he seems to be first-rate."
comments powered by Disqus
- Kitty Genovese Killing Is Retold in the Film ‘37’
- Lithuania wants to erase its ugly history of Nazi collaboration
- Huckabee: Iran nuclear deal will march Israelis ‘to the door of the oven’
- Connecticut Democrats drop Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson names from annual fundraising dinner
- AP releases a million minutes of filmed history to YouTube
- Historian Howard Segal says the cost of paying for expensive commencement speeches is diverting funds from where they’re most needed
- Historian Shelly Cline researches female Nazi guards
- Owen Chadwick, Eminent Historian of Christianity, Dies at 99
- Members of the University of South Florida’s history department are finding new ways to get their jobs done after budget cuts
- Testing the U.S.-Israel Bond