Ronald Reagan’s untold story: ‘Last Act’ offers look at his final years after the White House

– The Washington Times – Sunday, June 7, 2015


Last Act book cover HR

To mark the 11th anniversary of her husband’s passing, Nancy Reagan placed a small bouquet of white roses at the gravesite of the nation’s 40th president on Friday. Dressed in a white pantsuit and print scarf, Mrs. Reagan quietly sat before the remembrance wall at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California — a stretch of limestone inscribed with one of Ronald Reagan’s most memorable quotes: “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.” The quote is from a speech Reagan made in 1991 when the library itself was dedicated. The audience that day included Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Charlton Heston.

But the Reagan story is not over yet. Now on the radar: “Last Act: The final years and emerging legacy of Ronald Reagan,” an upcoming book by historian and Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, which offers a thoughtful and unprecedented look at Reagan’s life after he left the White House.

“No 20th century president shaped the American political landscape so profoundly. ‘Last Act’ will tell the important final chapter in the life of Reagan, widening our understanding of American history, the presidency and one of the most singular men to occupy the office. Cast in a grand and compelling narrative style, the book will contain interesting and heretofore untold anecdotes and history,” says Joel Miller, vice president of Thomas Nelson, which publishes the book in October.

Mr. Miller notes that the detail-minded author will offer a wealth of social history from the Reagan era, adding, “We’re witnessing almost every day that Reagan’s legacy, his views and his philosophy have become so crucial in the political sphere that they may very well mean the difference between winning or losing elections.”

Indeed, GOP hopefuls now vie to see who can appear the most “Reaganesque.” Mr. Shirley, incidentally, is also at work on “Citizen Newt,” a political biography of Newt Gingrich. “Last Act” will be available for preorder from the publisher on July 15.