5 out of 5 stars *****
One might think they know a celebrity such as Ronald Reagan. His storied Hollywood career and his most notable political roles as Governor of California and President of the United States reads as the common boy grows up to be a star and occupier of the most powerful office in the world. Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency informs readers of a vinegar laced history with the sugarcoated stories of which one may be familiar.
What this excellent Bill O'Reilly novel reveals is the greatness, Reagan's ideals, supersede his normal human being status. Reagan's passion for this country and its Christian principles couple with his ability to remember whole scripts to make him the Great Communicator. He accents the right words at the right times. His craft as an actor makes him a convincing politician; but this book credits Nancy Davis, the right woman who supports and protects her husband throughout his political and personal life, for much of his success.
The family life of this man with his first wife, Jayne Wyman, demonstrates how estranged relationships become after the tragic death of a child. Christine Reagan is born prematurely on June 26, 1947. She dies hours later. Maureen, Ron and Jayne's first child, is born in 1941 and proves to be like her father with her interest in politics. The adoption of a child born March 18, 1945, Michael, is not enough to keep this couple together. Ron and Jayne concentrate on their movie careers and place the children in boarding schools. Jayne and Ron divorce in 1949. At this time Jayne is a registered Republican while Ronald is a Democrat.
Ron and Nancy's children also prove how a perfect family is far from reality. Patti, born in 1952, rebels against both parents and writes a tell-all book calling her family dysfunctional. She even poses for Playboy offering more juicy gossip on scandals that feed a vicarious population. Ron Prescott Reagan, born May 20, 1958, also speaks out against his father's politics as a liberal talk show host.
Beyond Reagan's personal life, Bill O'Reilly fleshes out behind the scene events, in monumental times, that live in history, today, as Ronald Reagan's great achievements. His political Conservatism brings America's economy into the balanced budget that escapes his predecessors. The military is stronger and acts as the deterrent which forces the Soviet Union to concede to Reagan's demands; such as, the reduction of nuclear weapons in the world and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
This novel brings up the complexity of politics within politics which is not flattering to Reagan, at all. The Iran-contra scandal describes how accountability is an issue of integrity. What happens in an administration rests on the heads of state. Reagan admits that he does not know when he signs authorization for the clandestine operation. He tells Americans that he is sorry for not knowing about the illegal undertaking. This admission shows how Reagan is willing to suffer the consequences for his actions regardless of his repentance. Because of his owning up to what seems like absentmindedness, at best, Reagan is not a victim of impeachment. Nancy, later, admits that her husband has one fault, and that is, he is too trusting of those around him. Nancy's interventions in politics always stem from protecting her husband from this very kind of scandal.
This book ends with the decline of Ronald Reagan's mental capacity and physical health. Nancy devotes every waking moment to the love of her life. She cannot contain the sorrow when her beloved forgets who she is. In his last days, Patti comes home to live with her "dysfunctional" family. She keeps a journal and records the last days of the American President whose moment in time eloquently speaks the right words at the right times that make the world a safer, better place for a while. Ronald Reagan, a man of principle who matures into one of the best Godly Conservatives, creates a template for a free, prosperous America to shine as a beacon for all the world to see.