The most recommended Ronald Reagan books

Who picked these books? Meet our 30 experts.

30 authors created a book list connected to Ronald Reagan, and here are their favorite Ronald Reagan books.
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Book cover of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism

Neal Thompson Author Of Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

From my list on America’s path through the Cold War.

Who am I?

I entered the United States Army in August 1970, two months after graduation from high school, completed flight school on November 1971, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in Troop F (Air), 8th US Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade. After my discharge, I served an additional 28 years as a helicopter pilot in the Illinois National Guard, retiring in 2003. I graduated from Triton Junior College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University Law School in 1981. My passion for this subject arises, as one would expect, from my status as a veteran. My expertise is based on my own experience and 16 years of research and writing that went into the preparation of my book.

Neal's book list on America’s path through the Cold War

Neal Thompson Why did Neal love this book?

Paul Kengor provides a steady, detailed analysis of Reagan’s successful attempt to end the Cold War by driving the USSR to economic collapse. From technological embargoes, economic warfare and disinformation that the Soviets believed were intelligence successes to driving the price of oil down to $10 per barrel, Reagan’s policies were disastrous for Soviet interests. In just one year, the USSR moved from a $700 million trade surplus with the West to a $1.4 billion deficit, which tripled during the following year. “In my view,” wrote Gorbachev in the end, “the 40th President of the United States will go down in history for his rare perception.”

By Paul Kengor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Crusader as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on extraordinary research: a major reassessment of Ronald Reagan's lifelong crusade to dismantle the Soviet Empire–including shocking revelations about the liberal American politician who tried to collude with USSR to counter Reagan's efforts

Paul Kengor's God and Ronald Reagan made presidential historian Paul Kengor's name as one of the premier chroniclers of the life and career of the 40th president. Now, with The Crusader, Kengor returns with the one book about Reagan that has not been written: The story of his lifelong crusade against communism, and of his dogged–and ultimately triumphant–effort to overthrow the Soviet Union.

Drawing upon reams…

Book cover of A Nation of Neighborhoods: Imagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America

Todd Swanstrom Author Of The Changing American Neighborhood: The Meaning of Place in the Twenty-First Century

From my list on why neighborhoods still matter.

Who am I?

I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a neighborhood that was stable, safe, and stimulating. After my freshman year in college, I signed up for an “urban experience” in Detroit. It turned out to be the summer of the Detroit riots. I woke up to U.S. Army vehicles rumbling into the park across from my apartment. Over the next month, I witnessed the looting and burning of whole neighborhoods. I remember thinking:  what a waste! Why are we throwing away neighborhoods like Kleenex? I have been trying to answer that question ever since.   

Todd's book list on why neighborhoods still matter

Todd Swanstrom Why did Todd love this book?

Benjamin Looker shows how an idealized image of neighborhoods animated cultural and political identities from World War II to the Reagan era.

I was particularly fascinated by his treatment of the 1970s when “power to the neighborhoods” was a rallying cry for both the left and the right. Jimmy Carter used neighborhood rhetoric to mobilize urban ethnics in 1976, while Ronald Reagan outdid him in 1980, using the gauzy rhetoric of neighborhood empowerment to mask his lack of support for federal policies to help neighborhoods.

This incredibly well-researched scholarly book is wonderfully written and sparkling with insights.   

By Benjamin Looker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Nation of Neighborhoods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite the pundits who have written its epitaph and the latter-day refugees who have fled its confines for the half-acre suburban estate, the city neighborhood has endured as an idea central to American culture. In A Nation of Neighborhoods, Benjamin Looker presents us with the city neighborhood as both an endless problem and a possibility. Looker investigates the cultural, social, and political complexities of the idea of "neighborhood" in postwar America and how Americans grappled with vast changes in their urban spaces from World War II to the Reagan era. In the face of urban decline, competing visions of the…

Book cover of Rational Expectations and Inflation

Richard Burdekin Author Of China's Monetary Challenges: Past Experiences and Future Prospects

From my list on if you didn’t think money matters.

Who am I?

Long before I studied economics, I remember being told in church that “money is the root of all evil.” Much later, when I was interviewing for my first professor-level position, I remember one of the interviewers saying, “I suppose everyone is interested in money.” We are not talking here about a fixation on accumulating money, but rather understanding the profound impact monetary policy has upon everyone in society. These readings show how pervasive the effects of bad monetary policy can be and how important it is to keep track of what is going on. Start with the first two chapters of Friedman’s Money Mischief and see if you can stop! 

Richard's book list on if you didn’t think money matters

Richard Burdekin Why did Richard love this book?

Sargent shows how the monetary excesses leading to inflation have often been connected to using money to cover government budgetary shortfalls. This is vividly illustrated in chapter 3 by the way that ending the post-World War I hyperinflations required fundamental fiscal as well as monetary reform. 

Sargent also convincingly demonstrates the power of expectations and the idea that, as government behavior changes, people’s behavior adjusts as well.

You really cannot argue with the Ancient Chinese proverb included on the first page: “The government has strategies. The people have counterstrategies.” Amidst the rich trove of historical cases, my favorite remains chapter 6’s interpretation of the interactions between President Ronald Reagan and a recalcitrant US Congress in the early 1980s as a “game of chicken.” 

By Thomas J. Sargent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rational Expectations and Inflation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This collection of essays written by one of the founders and chief proponents of rational expectations theory is intended as a supplement for macroeconomics courses. Thomas Sargent applies rational expectations macroeconomics at an informal, non-econometric level to interpret a variety of historical and contemporary issues. Sargent uses inflation as a natural context for applying rational expectations theory. Government efforts to stop currency depreciation, alternative monetary systems and the conflict between monetary and fiscal policies are also explored.

Book cover of Washington

Kimberly Voss Author Of Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s

From my list on post-World War II women, politics and journalism.

Who am I?

I am driven to tell the stories of important but often forgotten women journalists from the 1940s through the 1970s. They were pioneers who also created deep connections in their communities. Over the past few years, I have published several books about women in mass media. My 2014 book documented the history of newspaper food editors– an often powerful and political position held almost exclusively by women. My third book, Women Politicking Politely looked at the experiences of pioneering women’s editors and women in politics which allows for a better perspective of women in journalism today and adds to women’s history scholarship.

Kimberly's book list on post-World War II women, politics and journalism

Kimberly Voss Why did Kimberly love this book?

The book Washington chronicles the significant career of Meg Greenfield, an editorial page editor of The Washington Post. Greenfield, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, wrote the book during the last two years of her life. Greenfield’s boss and close friend Katharine Graham contributed the foreword which provides context. Greenfield came to Washington in 1961 and was hired by the Post a few years later. Her editorials at the Post and her columns in Newsweek were witty and smart. Her stories provide a political picture of Washington, D.C. at the end of the American century. She was often at the place where change happened and tells the stories well. Greenfield’s book is a fascinating read about politics, journalism, and history.

By Meg Greenfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Washington as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With Washington , the illustrious longtime editorial page editor of The Washington Post wrote an instant classic, a sociology of Washington, D.C., that is as wise as it is wry. Greenfield, a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, wrote the book secretly in the final two years of her life. She told her literary executor, presidential historian Michael Beschloss, of her work and he has written an afterword telling the story of how the book came into being. Greenfield's close friend and employer, the late Katharine Graham, contributed a moving and personal foreword. Greenfield came to Washington in 1961,…

Book cover of The Bloodied Ivy

Barbara Katz Rothman Author Of The Biomedical Empire: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

From Barbara's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Sociologist

Barbara's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Barbara Katz Rothman Why did Barbara love this book?

The Nero Wolfe books are the most comforting reading I can do. My family knows that if you’re ever calling the ambulance for me, grab one! Whatever is going on in my life, however stressed I am, I know that Wolfe will go up to the orchids each day, that Fritz will cook dinner, Archie will seat someone in the red leather chair, and the crime will be solved. 

Rex Stout created that world—but maybe the sweetest thing ever—Robert Goldsborough’s mother had read them all, so he wrote some more!

I have read all of them, everyone, but I pick one up and reread as needed. Yeah, life can be rough—bless you both for helping me through!

By Robert Goldsborough,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bloodied Ivy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A professor's death lures the reclusive detective and his sidekick to a bucolic crime scene: "Goldsborough does a masterly job with the Wolfe legacy" (Booklist).

An academic so conservative he thought Ronald Reagan was a pinko, Hale Markham rules Prescott University like an intellectual tyrant-until the morning he's found dead at the bottom of one of Prescott's famously beautiful ravines. Every liberal on campus hated the crotchety old crank, but which one is responsible for giving Markham his final push to the right? The case so intrigues the incomparable, reclusive master detective Nero Wolfe that he takes the unusual step…

Book cover of The Triumph of Nancy Reagan

Dan Morain Author Of Kamala's Way: An American Life

From my list on California-themed stories that matter.

Who am I?

Visiting journalists regularly misinterpret California. Outside politicians twist it into bizarre caricatures. I know because I have worked as a journalist in all parts of the state. I covered crime for the LA Herald Examiner, spent 27 years at the LA Times, was a columnist and editorial page editor at the Sacramento Bee and, finally, was senior editor of the nonprofit news organization, CalMatters. I’ve covered governors, wildfires, a major earthquake, politics, mass incarceration, mass shootings, an execution, and all manner of policy. There are many great nonfiction books about California, including Jim Newton’s biographies of Earl Warren and Jerry Brown, Randy Shilts’s The Mayor of Castro Street, and Gladwin Hill’s Dancing Bear.

Dan's book list on California-themed stories that matter

Dan Morain Why did Dan love this book?

Karen Tumulty has written the definitive biography of Nancy Reagan. Readers will come away with a far deeper appreciation of the woman who was President Reagan’s fiercest defender and who helped shape his life and political ascent. I was especially drawn to the book by the insights Karen Tumulty provides about the Sacramento during Reagan’s time as governor, and about the Reagan’s California years before and after the presidency. Karen Tumulty’s description of Nancy Reagan’s years after Ronald Reagan’s death is especially compelling.

By Karen Tumulty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Triumph of Nancy Reagan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive biography of the fiercely vigilant and politically astute First Lady who shaped one of the most consequential presidencies of the 20th century: Nancy Reagan.

The made-in-Hollywood marriage of Ronald and Nancy Reagan is more than a love story-it's the partnership that made him president. Of the pair, Nancy was the one with the sharper instincts about people, the superior radar for trouble, and the keen sense of how to secure his place in history. The only person in the world to whom Ronald Reagan felt truly close, Nancy understood how to foster his strengths and compensate for his…

Book cover of Switched

Anna Katmore Author Of Seventeen Butterflies

From my list on super-sweet kisses and swoon-worthy book-boyfriends.

Who am I?

Even before I became a romance writer, I already devoured young adult love stories like others eat sandwiches for dinner. It’s that innocent, sweet built-up to the very first kiss of the hero and heroine that would keep me reading or writing all through the night. I believe it’s a rare talent to craft the perfect tension and balance between hot and sweet. And as I’m writing my own love stories by now, I’m still on the hunt for those rare gems within the sea of novels out there.

Anna's book list on super-sweet kisses and swoon-worthy book-boyfriends

Anna Katmore Why did Anna love this book?

I read this book so many years ago and still remember what an awkwardly sweet guy Wesley was.

There were so many laugh-out-loud moments in this novel, all thanks to him. He and Kayla concoct a plan to break up their best friends, the couple Talon and Reagan. Although this doesn’t sound like a nice thing at the beginning, you’ll see that Kayla and Wes have the best intentions. And when they finally fall for each other, there’s this smitten sigh you can’t hold back any longer, promise! :)

Book cover of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Laura K. Connell Author Of It's Not Your Fault: The Subconscious Reasons We Self-Sabotage and How to Stop

From my list on healing childhood trauma and self-sabotage.

Who am I?

I grew up in a home with severe emotional abuse and neglect. Scoring 6 on the ACEs (adverse childhood events) test became a wake-up call; according to the test, my life span had been shortened by 20 years and I was determined to get them back. I stopped protecting my abusive family and got honest about what I had been through. This drew an audience who said I helped them feel seen and heard (and they did the same for me). I’ve spent the last decade on a healing journey from addiction and self-sabotage, the culmination of which is my new book and trauma-informed coaching practice that transforms lives.

Laura's book list on healing childhood trauma and self-sabotage

Laura K. Connell Why did Laura love this book?

In this book, a medical doctor makes the connection between suppressed emotions, especially anger and rage, and disease in the body.

When we live inauthentic lives, our bodies manifest this self-abandonment through auto-immune issues (literally the body turning against itself). He notes that women especially have the tendency to abandon themselves to serve others which creates repressed resentments that come out as disease in the body. It helped explain my painful bout with shingles which became a turning point for me in committing to living for myself instead of others.

By Gabor Maté,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked When the Body Says No as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there a connection between the ability to express emotions and Alzheimer's disease? Is there such a thing as a 'cancer personality'?

Drawing on deep scientific research and Dr Gabor Mate's acclaimed clinical work, When the Body Says No provides the answers to critical questions about the mind-body link - and the role that stress and our emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

When the Body Says No:

- Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome…

Book cover of In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat, and Renewal

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: "Who Killed the President?"

From my list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective.

Who am I?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

President Nixon had many successes and failures during his life, in his book he shares personal details of his celebrations and anguishes, such extremes for anyone to endure. I had the pleasure of meeting President Nixon on his first solo return to the White House in 1987, for a meeting with President Reagan.

By Richard Nixon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Arena as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Eloquent of the man and . . . of the history he made." —The New York Times

In the Arena is the most personal, profound, and revealing memoir ever written by a major political figure. It is Richard Nixon's frankest, most outspoken book—which includes the inside story of his resignation from the Presidency and its aftermath.

President Nixon's previous books have brilliantly chronicled his public career and examined America's strategic role in the world. Now, for the first time, he shares his private thoughts and feelings on his long career, other great leaders at home and abroad, his own family,…

Book cover of The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan

James W. Russell Author Of The Labor Guide to Retirement Plans: For Union Organizers and Employees

From my list on retirement plans if you don’t trust Wall Street.

Who am I?

I became fascinated with retirement plans and policy when I realized that my 401(k)-like retirement plan with a high rate of savings and investment returns would still come up way short in terms of the retirement income needed for me and my family. That led me to initiate a winning campaign to allow those of us in that plan to switch to our employer’s pension plan. In leading that struggle, I had to learn everything possible, beyond what I already knew, about retirement plans. I have a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and have studied retirement plans in Latin America and Europe as well as the United States.

James' book list on retirement plans if you don’t trust Wall Street

James W. Russell Why did James love this book?

At first, the sheer size of this book—over eight hundred pages—intimidated me. But then as I got into it, I realized that it was well worth the time. This is the definitive account of the political struggle between the defenders and enemies of Social Security since the Reagan years. The defenders want to expand the program. Its enemies ultimately want to privatize it to benefit Wall Street or, at the least, reduce its benefits so that people have no other recourse than saving through 401(k)s. I like it because Laursen both understood what was at stake and was able to insightfully document what happened.

By Eric Laursen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The People's Pension as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Readers mystified by the yawning gulf between public opinion and current political discussion might benefit from the background provided in Eric Laursen’s magisterial history, 'The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan' The book offers more than 800 pages of fascinating if gory details about the lobbying efforts and misinformation campaigns aimed at bringing the program down."—Nancy Folbre, NYTimes Economix Blog

“Laursen has given us a comprehensive account of the three decade long war against Social Security. . . . This is a fascinating history that progressives must learn, not only to protect Social Security but also…