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Biographer Traces Ronald Reagan’s ‘American Journey’


Few American presidents occupy as prominent – and complicated – a place in the collective American psyche as Ronald Reagan.

An Illinois native, whose confidence belied a sometimes tumultuous childhood, Reagan’s path from sportscaster to actor to politician was rooted in his deep love for his country and his ability to connect with a crowd.

Biographer Bob Spitz traces that path in the new book “Reagan: An American Journey.” Spitz, who has also written biographies of Julia Child, Bob Dylan and The Beatles, joins “Chicago Tonight” for a conversation.

You can read an excerpt from “Reagan: An American Journey” here.

  • The Reagan family 1914. Left to right: Jack, Moon, Dutch, Nelle.

    The Reagan family 1914. Left to right: Jack, Moon, Dutch, Nelle.

  • Ron and Nancy’s engagement photo, January 1952

    Ron and Nancy’s engagement photo, January 1952

  • Ronald Reagan campaign billboard, 1966

    Ronald Reagan campaign billboard, 1966

  • Victory celebration for governor, November 8, 1966

    Victory celebration for governor, November 8, 1966

  • Ronald Reagan in a customary pose, working on his trusty yellow tablet in the stateroom aboard Air Force One, February 19, 1981

    Ronald Reagan in a customary pose, working on his trusty yellow tablet in the stateroom aboard Air Force One, February 19, 1981

  • Evening meeting in the Sit Room to discuss Lebanon Marine barracks bombing with George Bush, George Shultz, Caspar Weinberger, and senior staff of National Security Planning Group, October 23, 1983 Bud McFarlane and George Shultz brief Ronald Reagan on the situation in Grenada, Eisenhower Cabin, Augusta Golf Course, October 22, 1983.

    Evening meeting in the Sit Room to discuss Lebanon Marine barracks bombing with George Bush, George Shultz, Caspar Weinberger, and senior staff of National Security Planning Group, October 23, 1983 Bud McFarlane and George Shultz brief Ronald Reagan on the situation in Grenada, Eisenhower Cabin, Augusta Golf Course, October 22, 1983.

  • “Coats on, or coats off?” Ronald Reagan greets Mikhail Gorbachev outside Fleur d’Eau, Geneva Summit, November 19, 1985.

    “Coats on, or coats off?” Ronald Reagan greets Mikhail Gorbachev outside Fleur d’Eau, Geneva Summit, November 19, 1985.

  • “Queen Nancy”

    “Queen Nancy”

  • “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Ronald Reagan speech at Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, June 12, 1987

    “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Ronald Reagan speech at Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, June 12, 1987


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