There was just something so special about Ronald Reagan. He was both adored & despised, but even his harshest enemies admit he had unshakeable character and integrity - two qualities sadly missing in most politicians these days. Peggy Noonan tells of the life of Reagan as someone who knew and respected him. I was fascinated by so many behind-the-scenes stories that revealed the depth of character of this great man. I couldn't put this book down, probably because it was such a refreshing contrast to today's presidential politics.
In "When Character Was King" Peggy Noonan wrote her story of a great man and the building of his character as Ronald Reagan lay dying. Now that he's gone, Peggy Noonan is our era's great communicator. Not every word of "When Character Was King" is the utterly necessary word at the absolutely necessary time -- a few of her words don't fit and an occasional fact is flubbed -- but for the most part all other words fit perfectly into the best portrait we have of a good and great man.
Noonan, I believe, is the only biographer of President Reagan who understands the import of a first-term footnote, an episode that most of the world has learned to forget or has learned to diminish. That's the PATCO strike which, as Noonan shows, had world-historical implications. By the force of his focus, President Reagan used PATCO to reassert free-world mastery in our twilight struggle with an Evil Empire that was evil and that was an empire. We are fortunate that we had Reagan at a moment of maximum danger and Noonan to tell his story.
Elizabeth S. reviewed When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan on
Helpful Score: 2
Having read several books about Reagan, I found this one the most insightful into the personality and character of President Reagan. There were many stories that I had read no where else. I loved this book!
This is a typical biography only on the surface. The essentials are present--birth and major life events--but the real purpose is to expand on what the title implies. Noonan focuses on Reagan's character, and it's clear both here and in her subsequent writings that she has an enduring affection and respect for the man behind the persona of actor, governor, and president. The stories she shares, some funny, some poignant, come from her own experience as well as from Reagan's family, political allies or political foes, and closest associates. The book is a warm and fitting tribute to a good man, and I very much enjoyed reading it.
Perhaps the best book written about Ronald Reagan. It is inspiring and contains many lessons to be learned by the aspiring leader in any career field. It is well written and certainly rises from an author who "was there". Ms. Noonan saw the Reagan years first hand as did those whom she interviews. The differences between the "mainstream" media and the real voices who worked with the man are startling! Excellent book; a MUST read!
Cathy N. reviewed When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan on
The subject of the book was great. I love Ronald Reagan and think he is one of the greatest men who ever lived. BUT...the author was not so great. She jumped around too much and her telling of such an amazing life story left me kind of bored. How can you tell Ronald Reagan's life story and make it boring? Disappointing book.