cover image DEAR AMERICANS: Letters from the Desk of Ronald Reagan

DEAR AMERICANS: Letters from the Desk of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, . . Broadway, $26 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-385-50756-1

While researching at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Ralph E. Weber, former professor of modern American military and intelligence history at Marquette University, discovered a trove of more than 3,500 letters handwritten by President Reagan between 1981 and 1989 from such locations as the White House, Camp David and Rancho del Cielo (near Santa Barbara), and aboard Air Force One. Although Weber had researched five other presidential archives, he had located "few comparable files containing such a vivid and personal record; none was as lively and optimistic." Weber and his son, Ralph A. Weber, have made a careful selection of these revealing letters, written to everyone from lifelong friends to ordinary citizens. The correspondence comments on personal matters, such as Reagan's recovery after the assassination attempt ("Let me say I'm very lucky and the Lord really had his hand on my shoulder") to subjects such as Star Wars ("That term was never mine—it was dreamed up by the press and now they saddle me with it"). Covering a wide range of issues, Reagan wrote to newspaper columnists, magazine writers, the parents of soldiers killed in Lebanon, Soviet leaders, children, students, sports figures and Hollywood personalities. The letters are arranged chronologically into chapters for each year, and each chapter has anintroduction recapping the events of that year. Along with his faith and determination, Reagan's warmth, kindness, concern and compassion are evident throughout, and many readers will want to shelve this book alongside Nancy Reagan's bestselling I Love You, Ronnie. (On sale Oct. 21)