Reagan diaries to be published

For eight years Ronald Reagan kept a meticulous record of his presidency, filling five fat, leather-bound volumes with almost daily entries written in blue ink. That insider’s account of life at the helm of the world’s superpower will be publicly available with the publication of Reagan’s White House diaries.

Historians say the diaries, which are to be published next year by HarperCollins under an agreement with Reagan’s memorial library, provide the most detailed contemporaneous record to date of daily life in the White House, as experienced by a United States president.

In an era of almost obsessive White House secrecy, such intimacy seems almost unthinkable. President George Bush this month confessed that he never uses e-mail—not even to communicate with his twin daughters—because he fears the prying eyes of hackers.

By all accounts, Reagan did not share such qualms.
He arrived at the White House with a sense of history, making a point of buying the diaries from a local bookseller soon after becoming president in 1981. He also intended them for eventual publication.

“When Ronnie became president, he wanted to write it all down, so we could remember these special times,” his widow, Nancy, said in a statement.

Reagan turned to his diaries to prod his memory during the investigation into the Iran-contra arms scandal, and when writing his memoir.

Some presidential concerns appear to have little to do with matters of state. Entire passages are devoted to evaluating his public performances.

“He’s very meticulous about quantifying the kind of applause he got for all his speeches—the number of standing ovations, the length of applause—which might seem like vanity at first, but really it’s the professional actor calibrating his performance,” Edmund Morris, the author of a Reagan biography, told The Washington Post on Wednesday. - Guardian Unlimited Â