Two books by Ronald Reagan's sons

By Doug Wead
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, January 28, 2011; 3:05 PM


A Memoir

By Ron Reagan

Viking. 228 pp. $25.95


How Ronald Reagan's Principles Can Restore America's Greatness

By Michael Reagan with Jim Denney

Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's.

369 pp. $25.99

Two Reagan books, by two Reagan sons, arriving in bookstores at the same time? You just had to know there would be fireworks.

"My Father at 100," written by Ron Reagan, may be the most intimate and revealing work yet about the former president. Second only to the former first lady in his nearness to the subject, son Ron playfully relives his impish, childish provocations of his famous father: "Nobody can muddy a hero's cape as casually as an insolent teenager." The resulting reactions are lively, driving the guileless, calm father to the verge of fisticuffs. Elsewhere Ron Reagan captures his father's hapless intellectual attempt to justify the early American war against the Indians.

Ron Reagan's narrative, focusing mainly on the president's early years in life, starts slow and is sometimes cumbersome. But the book grows on you, page by page, or I should say that Ron's sarcasm and ability to invoke nostalgia grow on you, and they eventually seduce. You'll want to stay with this story because it finishes with a flourish, offering a first-person view of some of the most dramatic moments in the life of our 40th president. Here is information that historians will find nowhere else.

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