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Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Brinkley’

Ronald Reagan Diaries to be Published

Late former president Ronald Reagan‘s private diaries, once the subject of argument over whether excerpts would be produced as part of the Iran-contra trial of former national security adviser John M. Poindexter, are being published for all the world to see later this month by HarperCollins, reports the New York Times’ Motoko Rich. Earlier, the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz added that an excerpt of the diaries is in the June issue of Vanity Fair.

Five volumes of handwritten diary entries in 8-by-11-inch leather-bound maroon books have been edited by the historian Douglas Brinkley to produce an abridged version of 734 pages which will hit stores on May 22. For $35 readers can glean insights into the president’s character and get a ringside seat on his contemporaneous takes on world events. A complete edition will be published in several volumes in the next year or two, said Tim Duggan, executive editor at HarperCollins.

If you’re wondering why now, Fred Ryan, chairman of the Reagan Library, said that about a decade ago Reagan had given the library permission to publish the diaries. “They contain tremendous amounts of information about the presidency, Ronald Reagan and America at that time,” Ryan said. “We thought that now would be a good time to release these.” Proving once more that information wants to be free – or at least relatively inexpensive…

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When Politics and Publishing Collide

USA Today’s Carol Memmott looks at the astounding success of Barack Obama‘s THE AUDACITY OF HOPE and whether book sales really do have an impact on campaign plans. Booksellers and political observers have been buzzing for months about the rock-star atmosphere at Obama’s appearances to promote the book. “Reaction to the book and the response he received on the tour contributed to his thinking about the presidential race, but it wasn’t timed for that purpose,” says David Axelrod, a political consultant to Obama. The soon-to-be presidential candidate signed on to write the book long before the idea of running for president ever surfaced, Axelrod says. “There is no question, however, that the book signings and accompanying forums gave him a great opportunity to interact with thousands of people throughout the country.”

These days, it’s almost a requirement for a candidate to write a book, and there sure will be plenty of them coming in 2007 and 2008. “But the smart ones write a book that becomes kinetic, because it’s a bit unusual,” said Douglas Brinkley, citing JFK and Jimmy Carter as presidents who were helped by the books they wrote before. “You don’t want it to smell like a policy-platform document.”