Peggy Grande has always had a deep interest in politics and presidents. When she was young, she “read every book available in the library at William E. Fanning Elementary School about presidents of the United States, the White House, and Washington D.C.”
When Ronald Reagan was elected President, Grande was only in junior high, and even then, she “felt that he was a man worthy of the office.” Grande went on to Pepperdine University to study communications partly due to Reagan’s influence in her life. She was so impressed by the Great Communicator that she analyzed his speeches, even writing a term paper on his remarks to the nation following the Challenger disaster.
In the summer of 1989, Grande was a senior in college and had finished a semester early. She decided to pursue work experience and applied for an internship role in Reagan’s office. Grande worked for the former president for 10 years, rising from intern to executive assistant during her tenure.
I found Grande’s book by chance at a book sale and thought it would be good to learn a bit about Ronald Reagan from someone who has had a close professional relationship with him. I have always been fascinated with Ronald Reagan, not his politics per se but more his skills as the Great Communicator. Unfortunately, I never really got around to researching which books I should read to learn more about Reagan.
Grande’s memoir is generally a pleasant read though there were parts of the book where I felt that the author was overdoing her praises for the Reagans.
The book revolves around Grande’s experience working with the President, and you can tell that she really loved the job and was very proud of her achievements that sometimes her stories came across as slightly boastful.
There are some excellent stories about the Reagans, though, and their life post-presidency. I especially loved a particular chapter where she provides insights on why Reagan was a Great Communicator.
The President Will See You Now is really Grande’s personal experience working with the former President. As mentioned before, there are some good stories about the Reagan’s. Still, if you are looking to read about Ronald Reagan specifically, you’re probably better off picking up a proper biography of the late President.
After reading this, I finally got around to researching what other books I could pick up on Ronald Reagan, and these are the ones that I have shortlisted:
- An American Life by Ronald Reagan
- When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan by Peggy Noonan
- The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom by Ronald Reagan
- The Great Communicator: Selected Speeches of President Ronald Reagan by Ronald Reagan
- The Reagan Persuasion: Charm, Inspire, and Deliver a Winning Message by James Humes
Favourite quotes from the book:
- “Every death results in a wave of decisions and tasks that can overwhelm friends and family members.”
- “Ronald and Nancy Reagan were genuine people, not mythical characters. They lived the values they spoke of, the same when the cameras were rolling as when they are not. They saw people for who they were, but they also saw the best in them, and they always saw the best in our country and its unlimited potential.”
- “I won a nickname the Great Communicator, but I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.”