Review of ‘Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard | Summary & Analysis’

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Conservative TV personality Bill O’Reilly and author Martin Dugard collaborated to write Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency, an account of Ronald Reagan’s rise from movie actor to the U.S. presidency. The book chronicles Reagan’s entry into acting, his World War II military service, and his involvement in politics when his movie career began to stagnate, beginning with his election to the post of president of the Screen Actors’ Guild.

According to the authors, Reagan was originally a democrat, but when he married his second wife, actress Nancy Davis, he fell under her sway, became a Republican and an ultra-conservative. Reagan was well known for his anti-communist views, though, even before he became governor of California or entered the White House.

Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard/Summary & Analysis by Instaread is an unauthorized, unofficial review of the book. It gives an in-depth summary of the book, chapter by chapter. The book, much to the consternation of many conservatives and Reagan fans, does not shrink from discussing his failures and weaknesses, including Nancy’s degree of control of events and use of an astrologer during his time in the White House. If there’s a weakness in the book—the original book, not the summary—it’s that the authors don’t seem to provide concrete evidence to support every claim they make about Reagan, positive or negative. The original book also seems to get into the minds of characters, stating their motives, but without proving that the authors had sufficient access to know this.

Much of what is in the book is known, or has been suspected, and much of it is probably true. The problem is, we’ll probably never know for sure. That said, the Instaread summary gives a good description of a book that is bound to spark much controversy, so my advice is read this first before you plunk down a significant sum for the original.

I give it four stars.

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