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Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

Currently reading

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Reagan's Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster

Reagan's Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster - Martin Anderson, Annelise Anderson

To be likened to Reagan, it would seem, is the ultimate compliment in many a Right wing circle. Don’t believe me? Just the other day Rand Paul and Ted Cruz were squabbling over claims of Reagan-ry. Rand Paul replied to queries regarding this matter:

“I don’t claim to be the next Ronald Reagan nor do I attempt to disparage fellow Republicans as not being sufficiently Reaganesque.”

The fact that these circles aren't exactly my cup of tea is neither here nor there, I just wanted to get a better understanding of what all the fuss was about and figured that, given the goings-ons in the Crimean peninsula, this book might provide an opportunity to take a better guess at WWRRD? 

This book basically failed to answer my question (other than that he wouldn’t want to go nuclear on their ass because, if he had his druthers, all the nukes would have been destroyed). The authors (a husband-wife duo) devote a good chunk of the beginning to defending the idea that Reagan contributed significantly to the writing his own speeches. Having held no preconceived notions regarding Reagan’s speech authorship, this just made their claims seem suspect (the authors doth protest too much). 

Their goal is to show Reagan’s role in the ending of the Cold War, and they do, sort of. Their coverage is so uneven-handed. Reagan’s musings (whether from diary entries or letters) re. the Strategic Defense Initiative and talks (not détente) with Gorbachev bordered on being repetitive. 

Meanwhile, it seemed like Iran Contra was pretty much glossed right over (if you want to learn about that, just check out the American Dad episode Stanny Slickers 2: The Legend of Ollie North's Gold. I mean, no one involved claimed that they received direct orders or anything, so why bother examining it more closely?
Ollie North


The Andersons have earned two and a half lackluster stars from me. 

A note to the future:
If you're reading this, chances are you're about to sit down to record your own presidential audiobook. Let me give you a piece of advice, do not try to imitate your president (or czar, or prime minister, or king or whatever) of choice. I don't care how "dead on" your impression is (in this case, not very), it's just annoying and distracting and may or may not result in your sounding like an octogenarian 900-number operator whose three-pack-a-day smoking habit has finally caught up with her.