Ronald Reagan & the Culture War
There are now four living ex-Presidents of the United States, and four ex-Presidents’ wives. Never before in the country’s history have there been so many—as recently as the time of Richard Nixon’s presidency there were none—and in truth we do not know what to make of or to do with them. There is no formal political provision for an American President out of office, and there are no formal social demands made upon him, either.
Only the publishing industry, it seems, knows how it wishes to deal with the problem, which is to turn each departing President, and First Lady, into a one-time hot commodity with a ghost-written celebrity book. (By one of those happy ironies that are responsible for bringing the book-publishing industry so much unmerited success, the one presidential memoir that was not heatedly courted, Richard Nixon’s, will very likely turn out to have been the most profitable.) Thus, in less than two short years since the inauguration of George Bush, Simon & Schuster has provided us with a mammoth volume entitled An American Life1 purporting to be the autobiography of Ronald Reagan.
About the Author