Ronald Reagan's Wisdom for the Twenty-First Century


Edited and with Commentary byCharlotte Livingston, John E. Wade III, and Daniel P. Agatino


Pelican Publishing


Reader Appeal: Republicans


Genre: Politics / History


PopFam Rating: C-


On the one hand, Ronald Reagan's Wisdom for the Twenty-First Century delivers a nice, albeit slim, oral history of the 40th president of the United States. Organized in categories that range from "Economy" to "God" and "Pop Culture," this book collects some of the more memorable Reagan quips, both humorous and serious. Additionally, the Reagan moments archived here are often inspirational and poignant.


A sampling of the best from this book includes:


"We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much."


"We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them--this morning, as they prepared for their journey, and waved good-bye, and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'"


"[It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people."


And, of course:


"Honey, I forgot to duck."


On the other hand, Ronald Reagan's Wisdom for the Twenty-First Century isn't as much concerned with presenting RR's wisdom as it is with remembering clever quotes and using the Great Communicator to lob insults toward modern-day democrats that Reagan never knew existed.


What's worse are the inane, redundant additions...excuse me, "commentaries"...added to every single Reagan quote by John E. Wade II and Daniel P. Agatino. Examples:


After Reagan's classic quip, "If it moves, tax it," John Wade feels it necessary to say, "That's the way a lot of Democrats think." Really John? We needed you to muck up Reagan's insightful humor by making sure we knew that?


Or, when Reagan made a joke about politics being "the second oldest profession," Agatino explains the context for us morons, saying, "He is of course referring to prostitution, which is often referred to as 'the world's oldest profession.'" Really Daniel? That's the most insightful thing you can add to this conversation?


Or, as "commentary" on one of Reagan's snappy retorts during a debate, Wade notes blandly, "President Reagan had a superb sense of humor." Yawn. I'm asleep already.


This book could have been great. With Ronald Reagan's sizzling command of language and enormous ability to inspire, it could have been a powerful, unforgettable book.


If Ronald Reagan's Wisdom...had let the Great Communicator speak for himself, if it had let his words do their own damage instead of hurling them at invisible targets in the political sphere, this book would have been something the whole world should read. Instead, in the hands of Livingston, Wade and Agatino, Ronald Reagan's eloquence is reduced to mundane, annoying rhetoric.


America's 40th president changed the world. He deserved better than this book dared to give.




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