New Read: Ronald Reagan (A Very Brief History)

Last year, I had a bit of an US politics theme going on in my reading through Mark Black’s A Very Brief History series. I continued this earlier this year by reading about The Vietnam War but in March I reached my last US history instalment which was about Ronald Reagan.

Before reading this, what I knew about Ronald Reagan was that he was that president who used to be an actor! From reading this, I discovered that Reagan was clearly a very diverse, skilful and hardworking man, because whatever he turned his hand to he appears to have been successful in: a radio broadcaster; during the war he made Army training films; a Hollywood star, who featured in more than fifty motion pictures; president of SAG (the Screen Actors Guild) and a TV actor and host. Then he made his switch to politics when he became the governor of California in 1967 and finally in 1981 he became the oldest, to date, US president at nearly 70 years old!

If it hadn’t been for Black’s short histories, I doubt I would have ever read about Reagan or other US presidents otherwise, which would be a shame because I have learnt so much from them. This clear, fast paced and concise history is broken down into bite-size chapters on his: childhood; high school and college years; military career; Hollywood career; political career, presidency and the honours and legacy he left behind. This style is helpful for a reader, like me, who knew little to nothing to learn quickly the main events and essential facts, but if you have read about Reagan before then I doubt you will learn anything new from this.

Overall, I thought Ronald Reagan: A Very Brief History was another quick and interesting read. Although I do not have any US instalments left, I have five others from this series on my Kindle. I am tempted to read the D-Day instalment next. Okay read.

Have you read this? Or anything else about Ronald Reagan?


12 thoughts on “New Read: Ronald Reagan (A Very Brief History)

  1. Glad you’re enjoying these – this one doesn’t really appeal to me tbh but then I don’t really tend to read non-fiction so that’s not really a surprise.
    Lynn 😀

  2. I’m sorry but I have to put in an official complaint! Things cannot be allowed to count as “history” if I’m old enough to remember them happening! 😉 Sadly, I’m old enough to remember Reagan very well – he was probably the first of the US Presidents I was properly aware of while he was happening, so to speak. Politically, we were poles apart, but I always had rather a soft spot for him as a person. He was always courteous, polite, soft-spoken, charming, a gentleman… oh, for the good old days!

    1. I am so sorry FF – your complaint has been filed 😉 However it is lovely to hear – even though you weren’t politically aligned – that you had rather a soft spot for Reagan. From reading this I got the feeling he was a nice guy and a true gent. 🙂

  3. I should probably read this series too as I know almost nothing about Ronald Reagan – or most other presidents, really. These books sound like a good way to learn something new without being overwhelmed with too many details.

    1. Helen, sounds like you are just like me! So I think this series, particularly the US president instalments, would be good for you too; as it rounds up all the main events and essential facts, but without blowing your mind with absolutely everything. 😀

  4. I know very little about Reagan. While he was President, I was paying very little attention to politics or world events. I am catching up now by reading the big, door stopper biographies of our presidents starting with Truman because he was President when I was born. I am currently reading about Lyndon B Johnson, so it will be a while before I get to Reagan. I have a negative opinion about him but must admit I don’t know why. I enjoyed reading your review.

  5. I’ve enjoyed going back and looking at the other topics you’ve covered in this series so far. It sounds like a great way to find out if a person or event is something you want to research further. Do you find them to be fairly objective in their presentation of the facts? I only ask because so often accounts can be quite biased. A good example might be the Vietnam War. My husband is a Vietnam veteran and he swayed some of my earlier ideas about that war.

    1. Kelly, I am so pleased that you have enjoyed going back and looking at all the short histories I have been reading, and I agree that these would be a great way to find out if a person or event is something you want to read more about. As for bias, from what I can remember, Black has stayed relatively neutral and objective in all the instalments I have read – I hope that helps. 🙂

  6. It’s great that one of your brief histories included Ronald Reagan as he is one of the most iconic US Presidents. I would love to read this series, not only this book but the rest that you have reviewed as well as it seems a short way to learn a bit without committing to a full-length biography that almost always are doorstoppers. 🙂

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