Gerard Baker

Saint Ronald

The Reagan Diaries

By

HarperCollins 767pp £30 order from our bookshop

Since Richard Crossman first spilled the beans on his Cabinet colleagues back in the 1960s, political diaries have become a rich resource for historians and a potent new weapon in the internal warfare that is modern democratic government.

For scholars and interested observers, subsequent publication of the contemporaneous observations of policymakers offers a chance to reconsider the context of long-familiar political events. For the diarists, they serve a much more important purpose. Like unexploded bombs, timed to detonate after their writers have left office, diaries can excoriate critics, punish enemies and deride turncoats, while all the time offering ringing self-validation of every decision made by the author in office.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,