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Sunday, May 31, 2020

"President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination" — A Review


Richard Reeves wrote the biography “President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination,” having it published in 2005. The book itself is informative, gripping, with a straight-to-the-point but eloquent writing style, emphasis on the humanity of the Gipper, and the domestic and international politics of the 80’s. Indeed, the topics explored by Mr. Reeves include how America dealt with the Israeli occupation of Lebanon; the Shakespearean drama in Congress over budgeting; the relationship between Gorbachev and the U.S. President; and the internal struggles among the cabinet. Riveting information packs each page. In this regard, the book is a masterpiece worthy of those interested in political science, history, and the Reagan presidency itself. This book, however, is not perfect.

Although the author claims to “reconstruct a President’s world from his own perspective” (page xiii), he reveals his personal biases throughout the book. Two pages after this quote, Mr. Reeves pens, “President Reagan did not win the Cold War and end communism, but he knew it was going to happen.” This passage should invoke cringe and nausea in historians. Dear reader, you are aware of the current occupation in Afghanistan, yes? During the Reagan presidency, the Soviet Union attempted a comparable occupation. WorldAtlas reports the natural resources of Afghanistan includes: copper, natural gas, and petroleum; and “Other minerals include lithium, marble (which brings in about $15 million through exports every year), rare-earth elements (whose value is not yet known), uranium, and others.” Picture a world where the Soviets obtained unlimited access to these resources, and the labour of Afghanistan, like they did in Eastern Europe. They could’ve revived their economy with ease, which means they could still be here. By stopping the Soviet invasion, Reagan gave assurance to the world the Soviet Empire would collapse. One of many examples.

Another complaint includes the over reliance upon the same sources, many biased. Funnily enough, he does this after confessing to and denying bias.

I might release an article that explores how to write a proper biography; if I do so, I shall elaborate upon the notion that biographers must, even if they have a personal agenda against the person they are writing about, avoid bias if they wish for serious reactions.

Overall, Mr. Reeves wrote a decent book. I enjoyed it. But it is not completely reliable, for it is informative yet biased.

References

Bada, Ferdinand. "Natural Resources Of Afghanistan." WorldAtlas, Apr. 15, 2019, worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-the-major-natural-resources-of-afghanistan.html.

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