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Craig Shirley; Author, Historian, Lecturer

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Craig Shirley is the author of  three bestsellers on former U.S. president Ronald Reagan –Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America (2014), Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All (2005), and Last Act: The Final Years and emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan (2015). His book December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World appeared multiple times on the New York Times bestselling list in December 2011 and January 2012, while Last Act, was named best narrative in the non-fiction category by USA Book News for 2015. Craig is the founder of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, was chosen in 2005 by Springfield College as their Outstanding Alumnus, and has been named the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater, where he taught a course titled “Reagan 101.”

His books have been hailed as the definitive works on the Gipper’s campaigns of 1976 and 1980. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Reagan Ranch , Eureka College Board of Trustees and has lectured at the Reagan Library, the FDR Library in Hyde Park, and the Dole Institute in Kansas. The London Telegraph called Shirley as “the best of the Reagan biographers.”

Shirley, a widely sought after speaker and commentator, appears regularly on many network and cable shows including NewsMaxTV, FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, ABC. CBS, CNBC, C-SPAN and others. He has also written extensively for the Washington Post, NewsMax, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, Town Hall, the Weekly Standard, Politico, Reuters, Lifezette and many other publications. He successfully predicted the results of the 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections.

Craig Shirley also edited the book Coaching Youth Lacrosse for the Lacrosse Foundation. He was also the founder of the Ft. Hunt Youth Lacrosse League and coached there for 14 years with an overall record of 119 wins, 21 losses and 4 ties.

Craig Shirley has completed two new books, Citizen Newt and Reagan Rising about, respectively, the revolutionary life and times of Newt Gingrich and the period between 1976 and 1980 when Reagan’s political outlook and philosophy underwent an enormous and significant change. His future plans include work on three more books on Reagan including a detailed look at his 1968 run for the presidency. He is also writing a book about Dr. Howard Snyder, personal physician to President Dwight Eisenhower, as well as a book about George Washington’s family.

Shirley and his wife, Zorine reside at “Trickle Down Point” on the Rappahannock River in Lancaster, Virginia and at Ben Lomond, an historic Georgian-style home in Tappahannock, Virginia. They are parents of four children, Matthew, Andrew, Taylor, and Mitchell. His varied interests include sailing, waterskiing, sport shooting, renovating buildings, and scuba diving. An accomplished carpenter, he has built two houses. Craig Shirley is also a member of the Reagan Alumni Association, Friends of Friendship Fire House, the Lyn Nofziger Society, Philadelphia Society, the Fusionist Society and a former board member of the American Conservative Union. He was a decorated contract agent for the Central Intelligence Agency.

47 thoughts on “Craig Shirley; Author, Historian, Lecturer”

  1. I just finished December 1941 which is an incredible gift to any one interested in our country at the time. A most impressive book and the thought of the amount of research needed for it is overwhelming. Thank you, I think it is an important book.

  2. just reading “Reagan’s Revolution” and was wondering 10 years after writing it if you would say that today’s mainstream GOP is more like the mainstream GOP of 1976? with the Karl Roves and others bashing Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. just wondering

    i’m enjoying the book!

    1. Dear Mr. Miller,

      Thanks for writing. In some ways, the party is better off today than in the 1970’s but in too many ways, it is
      worse off. For instance, many have questioned the ethics and ideology of the consulting classes that have dominance over
      the national Republican Party.

      And in the same way the Republican Establishment despised Reagan in the 1970’s, they now despise the conservative Tea Party
      Movement.

      The good news is the tea party represents American conservatives, integrity and accountability and they are winning the debate.

      The bad news is they still don’t control the lever of power.

      Warmly,

      Craig Shirley

  3. Mr. Shirley,

    When do you expect “The Last Act” to be released? I thoroughly enjoyed your first two Reagan books.

    Thank you,

    Mike Sebille

  4. When will your next Reagan book be released? Rendezvous with Destiny was a masterpiece and I know the Last Act will be as well.

    1. Thank you Mike. Last Act will be released in 2015, Citizen Newt in 2016 and Wilderness in 2017. Citizen Newt is about Gingrich in the Reagan years and Wilderness is about Reagan from 1976 tto 1980.

      Warmly,

      CPS

  5. Mr Shirley:

    Just finished listening to your recent conversation with Laura Ingraham, where you discussed the recent “US-Cuba rapprochement,” and the internal conflicts, divisions in the Republican party. I am still ruminating on your trenchant observation that today, in stark contrast to past Democrat administrations, there is not a reliable, single voice of the Republican Party. I am so discouraged. I remember what it was like when Ronald Reagan was president. Nowadays, I am starting to believe in the quasi-populist talk about how our country, in complete contravention of the Constitution, is now ruled by a well-organized goverment-and-business duopoly. I am starting to believe the populist who claims that everyday politics is just a sham exercise to distract us in the middle class from the reality of the duopoly’s ever-increasing, administrative state stranglehold.

    I shall have to read your biography of Reagan and the upcoming Gingrich biography; please tell me I will find some parallels between today and their day which will show a way to dissolve the duopoly.

    Thanks for allowing comments on your blog. Sorry for the second post; I hit the submit button accidentally before I finished.

  6. Dear Mr. Shirley,
    I watched your Fox News interview on President Reagan and thought it beautifully done. It has inspired me to seek out your books.
    However, I found your kit gloved treatment of the Progressive Liberal disgust for him miss informed, which I find hard to believe. Their destine comes from his abandonment of the Democrat party and ripping their world view to shreds in his eloquent Goldwater speech. No one, with a pure conscience, can listen to that message and walk away liberal, unless they have a Progressive agenda!!
    I have hope for you, please call out the treacherous agenda you know to be there.

    Best regards and wishes,
    John

  7. Hello Mr. Shirley,

    I am still reading December 1941.

    I have a question – in the hardback book, page 129, do you know who wrote the navy report?

    “A navy report had been given to him detailing how the Japanese could pull off such an attack on the base. The report said the Japanese would attack on a weekend and would not declare war first. Outside of those in the “war gaming” sections of the military, no one in or outside of government had given the notion of an audacious daytime bombing on a weekend even a passing thought. There had been only one blackout drill on Oahu-in May the year before-to simulate response in an attack.”

    I am looking forward to your reply.

    Ellen Little
    St Georges, Bermuda

  8. Mr. Shirley, Am Reading your Book REAGAN”S REVOLUTION, GREAT ! & Was so Glad you raised up Citizens for the Republic, Am following CFTR Website Thank you. signed: a Proud Reagan Conservative.

  9. Mr. Shirley Am reading your Book REAGAN”S REVOLUTION ,It is Very Good ! Can’t put it Down! Congrats on Reviving CFTR !! I signed on for the e-mails but so far nothing has come. Is the website still a work in progress? Thank you Sir ! signed: A PROUD REAGAN CONSERVATIVE & A OLD VET OF THE REAGAN REVOLUTION

  10. Mr Shirley,
    I just saw a mention on Bret Baier of Fox News that you are writing a book on President Reagan to correct “the caricature presented by establishment historians”. I would like to tell you of our two special experiences with our favorite President. In 1980, during the Republican campaign, my wife and I took our two children, Jonathan 2 yrs old and Joshua less than 1 yr old, to his rally in San Antonio (I was stationed at Lackland AFB). We were not up in front as he and Mrs Reagan passed by after the speech and were shaking hands, so I held Joshua over those in front of us in hopes he would touch Joshua’s hand. He reached out to take Joshua and held him in his arms while he and Mrs Reagan talked to Joshua. As Candidate Reagan handed Joshua back to me over the people, he told us to “enjoy him while you can because he’ll grow up before you know it.” Around two years later, Joshua was diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy and given five years to live because he kept getting pneumonia from the humidity. The Air Force moved our family to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we lived until I retired, because of the dry climate and the availability of outstanding medical facilities, MDA clinic, and a teaching hospital that might be on the frontier if a cure was found. In 1995, Joshua was still alive at 17 years old, so I wrote a letter to President Reagan, asking if there was any possibility that Joshua could meet him and received an answer of “yes”. Our family was extremely honored to meet with him in a private meeting in his office and he was so kind and presidential. He presented Joshua with a jar of jelly beans and spent a lot of time talking to us about his memories (e.g., as a lifeguard, an announcer, his ranch). We were requested not to tell others about our time together or show the photos while he was alive, which we respected but now, since you’re writing a book to show him as he really was, I wanted to tell you so you’ll have another private moment of his that showed how caring he was.

  11. Your comments in the Washington Post about O’Reilly’s Reagan book were appreciated.

    I find O’Reilly’s amateur bios to be quite amusing.

    Not sure what O’Reilly’s part in these books is, since he’s busy doing 50 other things.

    He has us believe that well-researched, scholarly works are easy and fast to do, though everybody else takes an inordinately long time to complete theirs.

    O’Reilly sadly depends on an ignorant audience that believes what he says, about the thoroughness of his research and everything else.

    I did like O’Reilly’s latest “Killing” tome, however, “Killing Literature.”

    I was less happy with the “No Spin Zone” Frisbee I bought from his “Factor” website…

    Take care.

  12. Great piece on Obama. I’m an investigative journalist. I worked as a litigation assistant on white collar crime prior to that. I prepared evidence for trial. I had a chance to examine Obamas passport for authenticity and discovered some glaring mistakes that indicated it was a forgery. I notified the Congress and the FBI but of course they refused to conduct an investigation. If it was a civil case it would have been aaster for the courts. It is not even admissible as an authentic document. I also met with this cold case possee which I can say was a hack operation conducted by a former car salesman from New Jersey. The best conservative news also refused to run any story discrediting the passport. The passport is the smoking gun. It’s the one document they have gone to extraordinary lengths to cover up. Even Breitbart. So I have no compassion for all the conservatives whining about Obama. One man can’t run a country he needs the help of everyone. But one man can ruin a country, and that’s exactly what this phony imposter has done.

  13. I saw your interview on CSPAN with Mr Lamb and was pleased to hear your comments. I went to Springfield College for a quarter in 1952 and then entered the Marine Corps. I eventually finished college in California at Cal State University at Los Angeles in 1967. I met Virgina Dunning who worked with Mr Reagan during the Un-American Activities in the Motion Picture Industry. In May of 1963 she arranged for Mr Reagan and his wife Nancy to speak to a small group of young adults. We were in a group called 21 America, a very small informal band of Goldwater conservatives, about 20, who were concerned with the country. The Reagans lived in Malibu and came to Sherman Oaks , about 50 or so miles, to speak to us. The setting was a large living room of a friend of Mrs. Dunning.
    He arranged to bring a Cuban freedom fighter and an author, who had written a book titled “White Teacher in a Black School”. All parties spoke to us. The setting was so informal that everyone was very comfortable. Ronald Reagan was all conservative at that time and inspired all of us to follow our beliefs and those of Barry Goldwater and help in the future to combat liberalism. By that time, he had left the Democrat party and all it stood for. A comment you made to Brian Lamb
    about the timely conversion to conservatism appeared to be later in time. I may have heard incorrectly. In any event we are all on the same side. I think I will buy your current book.
    Thank you. Charles F. Rogers

  14. comments on Trump on Gary Nolan Show.
    i would counter propose that TRump is more like Eisenhower than the great Reagan. Neither is/was truly a Republican nor were they that conservative. Trump can be comfortable in either D or R circles. Eisenhower was approached to run as a D in both 1948 and 1952, and both times to get rid of the Idiot from Independence. Differences – Trump can show his successes and his failures, Eisenhower was the captain of the winning team thanks to people like Patton and (Eisenhower) looked good by burying his failures (Hurtgen Forest and his collapse at the start of the Battle of the Bulge).

  15. Tremendous fact based responses from Craig Shirley on the Reagan interview on C-Span 2. Fair, truthful, and without unrealistic defensiveness. I’m not a fan of the O’Reilly book. I’m a movie buff. I don’t believe Erroll Flynn and Reagan were bosom buddy fellow womanizers. Everything I’ve ever read suggested an uneasiness between them. Probably a mutual minor jealousy. The same goes for William Holden. I’m sure Reagan and Holden admired each other and were friendly coworkers. And Holden was a convenient high profile best man. But I very much doubt that Reagan was a part of the complicated personal and private life of the great actor William Holden. Holden had lots of demons and secrecies. I just don’t see Holden who was so private including anyone like Reagan in on the wildlife. Your thoughts, Mr. Shirley ?

  16. We spend a lot of time looking at ISIS now days. We have forgotten the threat of communism. There are two books that list the goals of communism for conquering the U.S. First written in the 1950’s by a former FBI agent. The book has lots of references of the original communist documents and books ‘The Naked Communist’. The second book is ‘The Naked Truth’. This book talks about how well they have accomplished those goals that was written in 2012.
    A lot of these goals are what we see with progressives.

    Another book to look at is ‘Rules for Radicals’. This book also talks about the goals of communism. ‘The Naked Communist’ & ‘The Naked Truth’. All three books talk about the things that the progressives and democrats are trying to do to destroy the U.S. as our constitution was intended.

  17. Ronald Reagan was the best president in my life time! He cared about the people in this country their health, wealth, or whatever their needs may be. He had so much love in his heart for this country. Most of all his love for JESUS made him a real man!

  18. Mr. Shirley,

    Just finished your “December 1941″ — thanks for a wonderful book!

    Enjoyed too your dedication and your Acknowledgements. Never have seen the likes — truly, name dropping in the grand manner.

    Thanks again!

    Regards,

    Ray Dupuis

  19. May I simply just say what a comfort to find an individual who actually
    understands what they are talking about online. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.

    More people ought to read this and understand this
    side of the story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you
    certainly have the gift.

  20. I was in elementary school in California when Reagan was elected and he was still governor when I graduated high school and soon joined the Marine Corps. I later graduated from Berkeley with a BA in Poly Sci. One thing that is overlooked is the attraction to Reagan by voters is that he promised to bring the economy back by installing Capitalist principles. Pat Brown had crushed the spirit of the citizens of the state with his Anti-Business policies. The people were responding to Reagan and his promise to let the state grow, not a concept called Conservatism. Real people need money and not platitudes promulgated by various talk show hosts and crony sponsored columnists. Your work in important and I enjoy reading you. Thank you for your time.

  21. Mr. Shirley – I own 3 of your Reagan books (plus 2 audiobooks).

    Please, I’d like your recommendation on the best book (by any author) about the 1980 Presidential election.

    Thank you inn advance for your assistance.

    Taylor H. Davis

  22. Just put my Father’s biography on Kindle…would appreciate a review. It’s my first attempt…next will be my Mother…then me.
    Dad and Mom were part of the WW2 generation that the youngsters today have no clue due to the dumbing down effect of our educational treatise from the left. The title is “The Colonel’s Trunks…The Little Boy Bomb” . Thanks for your time and I enjoy hearing you on the radio. I’ve been to the Reagan Library. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Every Grade school class should be required to go. So Sorry to lose Mrs. Reagan…Wish I could’ve met her. Best Regards and God Speed, Lee C. Parker

  23. Anytime I see a book by Craig Shirley I buy it or get it from a library. I have several of his books and all are great.

  24. Mr Shirley:

    I worked in the 1984 campaign under Ken Khachigian. For what it’s worth, I said at the time Bush should be dropped from the ticket. He was not the responsible steward of Reagan’s legacy. Someone like Phil Gramm would have been.

    I think keeping Bush was the great blunder of President Reagan.

    Further, the Bush family is responsible for endangering the entire future of our country, only a few decades after Reagan left office. I have in mind the disastrous GW Bush neocon presidency. In particular, his first term, with a Republican congress giving Republicans full control of the executive and congress for the first time since 1955, was the perfect time to enact immigration reform limiting the Hispanic and third world invasion which is killing us in the electoral college. If Trump loses it will be irreversible; it would mean the end of America. Yet the fool W favored increasing this insane invasion!

    I welcome your comments. Thank you.

  25. Hi Mr. Shirley:

    I watched your interview on CSPAN 3 this morning. While I agree with most of your analysis of the 1976 Republican National Convention, I respectfully must disagree with you on one point. You said that Vice-President Nelson A. Rockefeller instigated the fracas on the floor of the convention that ultimately resulted in his phone being yanked off its stand. That’s incorrect! Please read page 15 from No Room for Democracy by Richard M. Rosenbaum: “…but as he walked past the North Carolina delegation, one of the delegates rudely shoved a “Reagan” sign in his face.” It was North Carolina delegate J.A. Dalapiaz who instigated the chaos, not Vice-President Rockefeller. I don’t deny that the Vice-President took the sign but it was only as response to have someone getting in his face. To put it the whole matter solely on Nelson Rockefeller, when he was being taunted, is totally unfair and inaccurate.

    Thank you for letting me address this piece of history.

    Steve Barnhoorn

  26. P.S. I was 14 years old in August 1976, and I remember following the drama of ’76 convention quite well on TV here at home in Honeoye, NY, which is why I chose to chime in on the matter concerning Vice-President Rockefeller.

    Kind regards,

    Steve Barnhoorn

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"There are no easy answers' but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right." – The Gipper