Free Essay. Book Review: Ronald Reagan; How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader

Published: 2023-11-12
Free Essay. Book Review: Ronald Reagan; How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Politics Biography Essays by pagecount Ronald Reagan
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1220 words
11 min read

The book Ronald Reagan; How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader is written by Dinesh D’Souza. The book offers an enlightening new view of one of the most successful, most popular, but the least understood president. The author of the book was a former aide to Reagan and is a bestselling author. In the book, he illustrates how Reagan as an "ordinary" man succeeded in converting the political scenery in a manner that had a long-lasting effect on America and the world. He uses firsthand reporting and interviews to account for the personal life of Reagan and exposes the moral origins of his vision and leadership. The study is a sincere and contemplative analysis of how the underestimated president turned out to be an extraordinary leader.

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Ronald Reagan was the most significant president in America since the rule of Franklin Roosevelt. He was the most prosperous Republican leader, and the first conservative to reach the peak of American politics. As a president, some of Reagan’s achievements were winning the Cold War without going to war, laying the foundation for the Republican Party to evade five decades of minority status, and openly justified accusations of conservatism. Moreover, he facilitated the spread of freedom and democracy globally, the restoration of the American economy, and the revival of national enthusiasm and pride He was dreaded by Communists, condescended by Democrats, detested by the Left. However, he overpowered all of them. It brought about the question, "Who was Ronald Reagan?" Dinesh D'Souza offers an excellent read of Reagan that allows us to acknowledge Reagan's accomplishments and our failure to recognize them. The achievements teach vital lessons. Also, it brings to light our negligence, in terms of how easy it was to turn a blind eye instead of appreciating him.

The two greatest of Reagan's achievements were reviving America's economic health and triumphing the Cold War. The latter is more magnificent. D'Souza discusses Reagan's vital role in ending “the supreme political drama” between 1947 and 1991. It is the best section of the book. He stresses the intensity of the war, how it was the most profound event in global history, and that there may never be another event of similar magnitude and importance. D’Souza demonstrates how Reagan pushed for his international regulation, "the architect of his success." Reagan went after policies that were cursed by liberals and disdained by the "wise." During his second term, he blended with conservative conventional wisdom, and he intelligently assisted Gorbachev to dismantle the Soviet empire and the Communist rule.

Reagan was strictly against communism. His anti-communism was derived from his nationalism. He staunchly believed that the Soviet Union was evil and that America pushed for what was right The Reagan Doctrine was a conviction, to assist anti-communist rebel world-wide and to weaken the Soviet empire. D'Souza pinpoints that Reagan formulated the doctrine solely on moral concepts. Reagan always advocated for the universal right to freedom and self-governance, unlike the leaders of that period. According to Reagan, the fight between America and the Soviet empire was a moral clash. Reagan believed that he was just clarifying what America upheld and what it's opposed. He was sure that America supported the good and that it would succeed. He perceived the vulnerability of Soviet communism, which led to an inflated boldness in the American system. Reagan's confidence made him win the elections with 50% of the votes. Contrary to the foreign policy set up, Reagan decided to abandon restriction and passivity to destroy the Soviet Union alongside its communist system.

Moreover, Reagan's confidence in America allowed him to advance and gain from Gorbachev assertively felt compelled to do concerning Reagan's strict regulations that he had implemented during his first term. D'Souza emphasizes on Reagan's courage to envision a world without communists when the Soviet Union war was the reigning superpower. He believed that communism would end when no one else could. Reagan believed that ending communism would help America be great and have a unique role in the post-Cold War world It would imply that America was morally assertive, politically daring, and had a strong military. Thereby facilitate the advancing of American interests and principles to other nations. Any politician that embraces Reagan’s concept requires courage to dispute the odd combination of shortsightedness and the jittery arrogance that defines the modern American system.

The complacent mood pollutes the formation of the Republican Party. Reagan led the party to two outstanding national election wins and brought a Republican Senate. He later handed over the presidency to George H. W. Bush, giving the Republican's three consecutive terms of administration. According to D’Souza, Reagan unified America by offering them a moral vision of patriotism and national greatness. The Republican Party used the Reaganite plan to win the elections in 1994. The concept is proven to bring victory to the Republicans. However, the modern GOP is not rooted in Reagan's plan. One of the reasons is that it is controversial as it challenges the Republican principles and doctrines. Reagan introduced social conservatives into the party and gave them a new, non-traditional Republican, non-institutional beliefs. The democrats disregarded the Reagan beliefs, and the detested the assimilation of the social conservatives into the party. That is how Reagan's vision was lost, and the party went back to its pre-Reagan principles.

The conservatives take pride in Reagan’s success and own it. However, when it comes to contemporary politics, they are proclaiming that we live in an age that Reaganism is outdated. It is because they are either scared to seem nostalgic or are unaware of Reagan's superior aptitude. The conservatives do not study or imitate the example that he set. D'Souza argues that Reagan's rule did not fit among the conservatives. They perceive him as another Goldwater that vied at a convenient time.

D'Souza tries to expound on Reagan's secret, to understand Reagan better. Even though his assessment is convincing, D'Souza does not untangle the mystery of Reagan. He notes down Reagan's confidence, which was more outstanding than his political courage. Reagan was not afraid to stand his ground, even when the odds were against him. Reagan was confident and courageous. Besides, he was optimistic too. The three correspond with each other because the rational belief that one will succeed requires courage to own it and confidence to stand by it despite all odds. Reagan was a staunch believer in the Americans and their principles. He believed in freedom and self-governance, and that these doctrines would triumph. Reagan was confident that America would win. It gave him the courage to pursue all that he did. Even if he wasn't formally religious, his confidence arose from the fact that he believed in God watching out for America. Reagan's rule is an illustration that political greatness needs the courage to be simple.

In the last chapter, D'Souza warns against anticipating another president like Ronald Reagan, just like many other authors. Despite him being an ordinary man who became an extraordinary leader, he did not measure up to Lincoln or Churchill. D’Souza suggests that Reaganism can be modernized. That way, honoring Reagan and crediting Reagan's vision that made America great.


D'Souza, Dinesh. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017.

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