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What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era

What I Saw at the Revolution A Political Life in the Reagan Era On the hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan s birth comes the twentieth anniversary edition of Peggy Noonan s critically acclaimed bestseller What I Saw at the Revolution for which she provides a n

  • Title: What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era
  • Author: Peggy Noonan
  • ISBN: 9780812969894
  • Page: 326
  • Format: Paperback
  • On the hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan s birth comes the twentieth anniversary edition of Peggy Noonan s critically acclaimed bestseller What I Saw at the Revolution, for which she provides a new Preface that demonstrates this book s timeless relevance As a special assistant to the president, Noonan worked with Ronald Reagan and with Vice President George H W BusOn the hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan s birth comes the twentieth anniversary edition of Peggy Noonan s critically acclaimed bestseller What I Saw at the Revolution, for which she provides a new Preface that demonstrates this book s timeless relevance As a special assistant to the president, Noonan worked with Ronald Reagan and with Vice President George H W Bush on some of their most memorable speeches Noonan shows us the world behind the words, and her sharp, vivid portraits of President Reagan and a host of Washington s movers and shakers are rendered in inimitable, witty prose Her priceless account of what it was like to be a speechwriter among bureaucrats, and a woman in the last bastion of male power, makes this a Washington memoir that breaks the mold as spirited, sensitive, and thoughtful as Peggy Noonan herself.

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    1 thought on “What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era

    1. Peggy Noonan, as I’m sure many of you know, was one of Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters. I received her memoir as a gift some 20 years ago with the inscription, “Look how far this gal from Farleigh Dickinson went!” That was sweet, sort of like saying, “If she could do it, imagine what you can become,” but I didn’t know quite what to make of it since the person who wrote that inscription was someone who’d made a career of bashing the Reagan administration. I was 19 or 20 then, and ha [...]

    2. The woman can write. And she's carrying a torch for Reagan. This book, however, was (I believe) her first, and covers her service at the end of the Reagan years and through the GHW Bush years. Just about anything memorable Bush 41 said, Peggy wrote.

    3. This book, written 23 years ago, is filled with poise beyond its writer's years, even when she is score-settling, and it makes you wonder what wisdom its author will uncover in the decades to come. All these years later, we can say: quite a lot.What I Saw at the Revolution is larger and more autobiographical than the books Noonan has often written since. It is denser in every way. It is rewarding and enjoyable and at times a touch too heavy. There are moments, as well, when a reader can feel Noo [...]

    4. I have a total writer crush on Peggy Noonan. I love her writing style, and I love that she is conservative, reasonable, and not a complete ass toward those with whom she disagrees (a model many people would do well to emulate in this day and age). Noonan was a special assistant--read: main speechwriter--for President Reagan during both of his administrations. I learned an enormous amount about political speech writing: how many hands get into the pie, how much back and forth fighting goes on ove [...]

    5. After visiting the Reagan Library, I seem to be obsessed with all books Reagan. Especially written by Noonan, and a review would be redundant. I'll leave it at this. it's not as good as "When Character was King", but it made me love Noonan even more!

    6. In her excellent chronicle of life as Reagan's chief speechwriter, Noonan notes, "when people who can't write try to write they often can't tell they're not good. In fact, they often think they're pretty close to wonderful, and they're genuinely hurt, and often suspicious, when told otherwise."Thankfully for the political reader interested in a well-written, entertaining, and oft-poetic narrative, Noonan decidedly provides the antithesis to her description. She is a writer bar none, and one can' [...]

    7. So the words "I'm going through a bit of a Peggy Noonan phase" have probably never been spoken, until now, but I'm going through a bit of a Peggy Noonan phase. Maybe it's because there are very few books written by female speechwriters about being a female speechwriter. And yes, she's a crazy loon these days, but Peggy Noonan circa 1985 is actually kind of inspiring. For one, she didn't do what she didn't want to do. The first lady asks you to write a speech, most speechwriters would be like "su [...]

    8. Loved her conversational, positive tones and inclusive style. This memoir is the coming-of-age story for Noonan's political life and covers her work in the White House as a speechwriter for Regan and Bush (#41). She is a true original, so her mind and writing sometimes goes to surprising places. Not always cookie-cutter "Republican" and a bit anti-establishment. Very comfortable with the messy bits of herself and life in general. But ultimately, she seemed in line with all the major issues that [...]

    9. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book, but I found Peggy's tone to be quite angry and harsh. Yes, she has interesting stories to tell, but they're often lost behind overt insults hurled at many of her colleagues. I did, however, love this one quote so much that I transcribed it from the audiobook:There are, I think, two kinds of serious political activists: those who are impelled by love and those who get their energy from hate. Those moved by love - for America, for the poor, for freedom [...]

    10. Peggy Noonan is a talented speechwriter and provided grand words for several Republican Presidents (this book, from the early 90s, covers Reagan, as well as George H. W. Bush briefly). This is her story, working as a writer during the Reagan era, as she helped to feed lines to the great communicator – my remark, not hers. Noonan’s voice, as read from the page, often sounds broad, thematic, and softly patriotic. Her brilliance lies in being able to identify the big themes of the day, the help [...]

    11. This book was every interesting. Before reading this I never thought how important speech writers. What I saw at the revolution daintily opened my eye to this. The most blatant example of this is in chapter 13. The challenger explosion was a tragic moment in history that touched many people. If Reagan said insensitive his career and legal would be ruined, and Peggy needed to make it quick. Reagan even said that he felt like he did them justice. But then he got an avalanche of calls and telegrams [...]

    12. Peggy Noonan has some great insights into Ronald Reagan's character. She claims that he had little malice - he was able to move along to the next task, and that he was nonjudgemental, egalitarian and self-contained.

    13. Though usually I don't tend to gravitate towards books describing political careers, I loved this one, and as a result have now added several more to my to-read list. Noonan describes her years as a speechwriter for President Reagan and what it was like in the White House at that time. She doesn't sugarcoat issues that came up, or even her own reactions when dealing with others who would revise, cut slash and at times mutilate the speeches she was trying to write. The writing style was unlike an [...]

    14. I found it a little hard to make it through this book, primarily because the history in the book assumes knowledge of situations such as the Iran-contra affair and people such as Don Regan. And the memoir is very much a work of the late 1980s/early 1990s; I found myself wondering throughout how Noonan's reflections had been changed by the rise of the Internet.However, if you're a writer--and even if you're a writer who has issues with Reagan's politics--I think you will find Noonan's passages on [...]

    15. I loved this book because Peggy Noonan (whom I'd never before read) is such a talented writer. (The speechwriter wrote Reagan's speech the day of the Challenger Disaster and Bush the Elder's "1,000 Points of Light" speech, among others.) Noonan's nearly stream-of-consciousness style and her ability to convey the highest parliamentary drama in one paragraph, then offset it with some quircky observation about someone's bowtie was nicely balanced. Of course, the larger story of the Reagan revolutio [...]

    16. I wonder if I might have read this one several years ago, and because it was such a small slice, may have lost track of having read it. Noonan admits early on her desire to work for the President, and is not bashful about her conservative outlook. I thought she had a number of nice phrases to describe her work at the White House, and I loved a line from her parting comments, "Don't fall in love with politicians, they're all a disappointment. They can't help it - they just are." The cover art fro [...]

    17. If one day you teach contemporary American history, put, "What I Saw at the Revolution," on a required reading list. Peggy Noonan's memoirs of her years as a speech writer for Pres. Ronald Reagan will delight students as well as give them an appreciation for the excitement and the delights which attended the Reagan presidency for all who were attracted to Ronald Reagan. Peggy Noonan is not a giddy cheerleader. She talks of her deep admiration for two men in public life, Ronald Reagan and Dan Rat [...]

    18. It's not my political cup of tea, but Peggy Noonan writes an engaging memoir of her experiences working as a speechwriter for the Reagan administration. I enjoyed her style and perspective, even when I didn't agree with her. My chief problem was that every time Reagan walks into a room, she is just short of describing him as accompanied by rainbows and unicorns. At the same time, I understand that comes from being part of the "Reagan Revolution". A unique perspective on working for a presidentia [...]

    19. Mid- and late-career Noonan has been disappointing, if only because her standard column writing technique is to extrapolate from her own observation while assuming that a sizable number of people outside Boston and New York must agree with her. Early Noonan, however, was refreshing and personable. That's what this book is. I recommend it to any fans of Ronald Reagan who want to learn more about the greatest president of my lifetime without committing to a weighty tome written by his verbose frie [...]

    20. I'm a big fan and regular reader of Peggy's column and often consider subscribing to the Wall Street Journal just for it. I love her style and her sensibility. This book is part history, part poetry, part West Wing style White House drama (she actually was an advisor on the West Wing), and part memoir all together. For a literature fan, a political conservative and a history buff like me, this is heaven.

    21. It is written in a true writer's hand, which you will enjoy very much if you go in expecting this style as opposed to a utilitarian biography as so many biographies can be. I found it enlightening regarding what it was like to be a writer and in Washington DC. It went a little long toward the end offering little new themes/observations about conservatism and Reagan. All in all an interesting read from an enjoyable and unique perspective.

    22. I'm not a Republican or even a conservative like this selection may imply. This book was a gift from my first boss in TV news, the same man who hired Walter Cronkite. That's evidence of his age, not mine. The book indoctrinated me into the world of the Reagan administration which was unlike any other White House culture before or since. A fascinating read if you can get past Noonan's sycophantic descriptions of Reagan.

    23. Story read by the author, Peggy Noonan, speech writer for Ronald Reagan. I read this for the second time. The book does examine the Reagan era but it also gives the reader a look at growing up in America in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Peggy Noonan was born in a liberal family. She attended college and got a job as writer for CBS. She then got a job as speech writer for president Reagan. Rating: 3.13

    24. Peggy Noonan's biggest honor, in my opinion, was to be a speech writer for President Ronald Reagan. I enjoyed everything Peggy Noonan shared in this book. I'm so glad she took the time to record her experiences. I'm a fan of Ronald Reagan. So, of course I loved reading about what it was like for her to work closely with him and with others of the Republican party. I've started other books by Peggy Noonan and decided that this particular book written by her is my favorite.

    25. Wow! What an incredible woman Noonan is! I can't believe all the things she has accomplished in her career! Not only is she a superb writer, she also gives an intriguing glimpse into the life of a White House speech writer. While I feel like this book would be more impactful if I had a better understanding of 1980s politics, it was still interesting. I give it three stars for being a bit long winded and also requiring the reader to have a firm grasp on politics 30+ years ago.

    26. This is possibly my favorite non-fiction book. Noonan's memoir of her time in the Reagan administration, and really about her life in general, is powerful, touching reading. I find myself rereading bits now and again, occasionally pulling it out for an all-night reread when I need inspiration in my daily life. The writing is astute and paints real pictures of Americana from the 60s through 1989 or so. Highly recommended, especially if you're in political life.

    27. Interesting book from a nice lady. One disturbing aspect about Noonan's book and others about the Reagan administration is how disengaged Reagan was and all the infighting that went on during his administration. I'll excerpt this book for my students to read as we prep for a meeting at the White House with one of Obama's speech-writersd a former student of mine.

    28. Though her politics, her insane desire for social progress to reverse, and her obvious antipathy for anyone with a college degree make me want to chop off my hands and bleed to death, this is still a useful, educational, and yes, witty and well written account of the Reagan White House - most particularly in regards to the art of writing in a political fishbowl.

    29. If you can get past Peggy's "squirrel" moments, she has a good story to tell. It is interesting to note what has occurred in American politics since she authored the book in 1990. The liberal agenda has played out as it was conceived prior to Reagan.

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