Lou Cannon is one of the most renown Ronald Reagan biographers, and I feel like there are a lot of them, but today I wanted to take a moment to look at some of his writing. Because he’s been writing for so long, I know some things are out of print, so these are the most important works and ones you can hopefully still get your hands on. I’m also going to focus on his books relating to Reagan!
“The campaign scenes in Cannon’s smart, savvy book play like the original production of a farce whose modern-dress revival we’ve all, willingly or not, just sat through…it’s amazing how much fresh detail he breathes into a story that many Californians probably think they know by heart…What lifts Cannon’s work on Reagan leagues above Edmund Morris’s semi-authorized Dutch is Cannon’s authoritative grasp of the material–the likelihood that, when he narrates what went on in a meeting, he’s talked about it more than once to almost all the people in the room…Ultimately, and with all the precincts reporting in, Governor Reagan stands above all others as the book that Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger needs to read right now.” –San Francisco Chronicle
Updated with recent assessments from many quarters, including the comments of former U.S. and Soviet diplomats, Nancy Reagan, and former independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, this masterwork probes the achievements and failures of the Reagan presidency with critical detachment. It examines the reasons for his political success, explains his economic policies, and exposes the roots of the Iran-contra scandal. Above all, President Reagan is an incisive portrait of one of America’s most important presidents.
In Governor Reagan, Lou Cannon offers–through recent interviews and research drawn from his unique access to the cabinet minutes of Reagan’s first years as governor of California–a fresh look at the development of a master politician.
At first, Reagan suffered from political amateurism, an inexperienced staff, and ideological blind spots. But he quickly learned to take the measure of the Democrats who controlled the State Legislature and surprised friends and foes alike by agreeing to a huge tax increase, which made it possible for him to govern for eight years without additional tax hikes. He developed an environmental policy that preserved the state ‘s scenic valleys and wild rivers, and he signed into law what was then the nation’s most progressive declaration on abortion rights. His quixotic 1968 presidential campaign revealed his higher ambitions to the world and taught him how much he had to learn about big-league politics.