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Where's The Rest Of Me?: The Autobiography Of Ronald Reagan

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Years before he dreamed of becoming President of the United States, Ronald Reagan wrote a frank, funny, moving account of his life. "Where's the rest of me" is his famous line from the hit movie "King's Row". This book reveals the man behind the public image...the Illinois youth, the college football hero, the movie star, the controversial union leader, and the devoted hus Years before he dreamed of becoming President of the United States, Ronald Reagan wrote a frank, funny, moving account of his life. "Where's the rest of me" is his famous line from the hit movie "King's Row". This book reveals the man behind the public image...the Illinois youth, the college football hero, the movie star, the controversial union leader, and the devoted husband. Now, Complete with 8 pages of photographs, here are the memoirs of a man whose real life holds more excitement than a Hollywood scenario...the man whose charm, wit, optimism, and common sense have captured the heart of the nation.


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Years before he dreamed of becoming President of the United States, Ronald Reagan wrote a frank, funny, moving account of his life. "Where's the rest of me" is his famous line from the hit movie "King's Row". This book reveals the man behind the public image...the Illinois youth, the college football hero, the movie star, the controversial union leader, and the devoted hus Years before he dreamed of becoming President of the United States, Ronald Reagan wrote a frank, funny, moving account of his life. "Where's the rest of me" is his famous line from the hit movie "King's Row". This book reveals the man behind the public image...the Illinois youth, the college football hero, the movie star, the controversial union leader, and the devoted husband. Now, Complete with 8 pages of photographs, here are the memoirs of a man whose real life holds more excitement than a Hollywood scenario...the man whose charm, wit, optimism, and common sense have captured the heart of the nation.

30 review for Where's The Rest Of Me?: The Autobiography Of Ronald Reagan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tim Chavel

    Since I first learned of this book many years ago, I wanted to read it. My wife bought it for me as a Valentine's Day gift. This book was first copyrighted in 1965. The title is taken from a movie, King's Row, where Reagan played a role a key scene of a man that wakes up in a hospital bed after having suffered an accident in the railroad yards. As he wakes up his eyes eyes travel down to where is legs should be (they had been amputated) his line in that scene is, "Where's the rest of me?" The maj Since I first learned of this book many years ago, I wanted to read it. My wife bought it for me as a Valentine's Day gift. This book was first copyrighted in 1965. The title is taken from a movie, King's Row, where Reagan played a role a key scene of a man that wakes up in a hospital bed after having suffered an accident in the railroad yards. As he wakes up his eyes eyes travel down to where is legs should be (they had been amputated) his line in that scene is, "Where's the rest of me?" The majority of this book details his film and movie life. It discusses many of his movies, how he got into the business, and who helped him along the way. Reagan was in leadership positions at various times in his movie career including being the President of the SAG. The last part of the book deals with his contract with The General Electric Theater, a series of weekly dramas that became very popular. His contract required him to tour GE plants sixteen weeks out of the year, often demanding of him fourteen speeches per day. The Appendix as the coauthor. Richard G. Hubler, writing a summary of Reagan's political philosophy. Most of the quotes below are taken from the Appendix: One does what he feels he can do best and serves where he feels he can make the greatest contribution. For me, I think that service is to continue accepting speaking engagements, in an effort to make people aware of the danger to freedom in a vast permanent government structure so big and complex it virtually entraps Presidents and legislators. Being an actor, I have access to audiences, which might be denied an office holder or candidate. There is no point in saving souls in heaven; if my speaking is to serve any purpose, then I must appear before listeners who don’t share my viewpoint. It’s a curious thing: I talked on this theme of big government during six years of the Eisenhower administration and was accepted as presenting a nonpartisan viewpoint. The same speech delivered after January 20, 1961, brought down thunders of wrath on my head, the charge that my speech was a partisan political attack, an expression of right wing extremism. My erstwhile associates in organized labor at the top level of the AFL-CIO assail me as a “strident voice of the right wing lunatic fringe.” Sadly I have come to realize that a great many so-called liberals aren’t liberal – they will defend to the death your right to agree with them. The classic liberal used to be the man who believed the individual was, and should be forever, the master of his destiny. That is now the conservative position. The liberal used to believe in freedom under the law. He now takes the ancient feudal position that power is everything. He believes in a stronger and stronger central government, in the philosophy that control is better than freedom. The conservative now quotes Thomas Paine, a long-time refuge of the liberals: “Government is a necessary evil; let us have as little of it as possible.” The liberal ignores what that “radical,” Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, said: “Strike for the jugular. Reduce taxes and spending. Keep government poor and remain free.” The liberal wants a well-heeled government in a Big Brother image to buy for us the things “Big Brother” thinks we should have. The conservatives believe the collective responsibility of the qualified men in a community should decide its course. The liberals believe in remote and massive strong-arming from afar, usually Washington, D.C. The conservatives believe in the unique powers of the individual and his personal opinions. The liberals lean increasingly toward bureaucracy, operation by computer minds and forced fiat, the submergence of man in statistics. It’s time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, “We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. For almost two centuries we have proved man’s capacity for self-government, but today we are told we must choose between a left and right or, as others suggest, a third alternative, a kind of safe middle ground. I suggest to you there is no left or right, only an up or down. Up to the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their humanitarian purpose those who would sacrifice freedom for security have, whether they know it or not, chosen this downward path. Pultarch warned, “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations, and benefits.” I for one find it disturbing when a representative refers to the free men and women of this country as the masses, but beyond this the full power of centralized government was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew you don’t control things; you can’t control the economy without controlling people. So we have come to a time for choosing. Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual belief in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. We need true tax reform that will at least make a start toward restoring for our children the American dream that wealth is denied to no one, that each individual has the right to fly as high as his strength and ability will take him. The economist Sumner Schlicter has said, “If a visitor from Mars looked at our tax policy, he would conclude it had been designed by a Communist spy to make free enterprise unworkable.” But we cannot have such reform while our tax policy is engineered by people who view the tax as a means of achieving changes in our social structure. Senator Clark (D.-PA) says the tax issue is a class issue, and the government must use the tax to redistribute the wealth and earnings downward. Today in our country the tax collector’s share is 37 cents of every dollar earned. Freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp. I wish I could give you some magic formula, but each of us must find his own role. One man in Virginia found what he could do, and dozens of business firms have followed his lead. Concerned because his 200 employees seemed unworried about government extravagance he conceived the idea of taking all of their withholding out of only the fourth paycheck each month. For three paydays his employees received their full salary. On the fourth payday all withholding was taken. He has one employee who owes him $4.70 each fourth payday. It only took one month to produce 200 Conservatives. Alexander Hamilton warned us that a nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserves one. Admittedly there is a risk in any course we follow. Choosing the high road cannot eliminate that risk. Already some of the architects of accommodation have hinted what their decision will be if their plan fails and we are faced with the final ultimatum. The English commentator Tynan has put it: he would rather live on his knees than die on his feet. Some of our own have said “Better Red than dead.” If we are to believe that nothing is worth the dying, when did this begin? Should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery rather than dare the wilderness? Should Christ have refused the Cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have refused to fire the shot heard round the world? Are we to believe that all the martyrs of history died in vain? You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We can preserve for our children this the last best hope of man on earth or we can sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children, say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nolan

    I’m certain there are better more thorough biographies of Reagan out there that would be more informative. So why this one? I knew precious little about his years as an actor. This book fills you in on those years. It also deals with his years as president of the Screen Actors Guild. It is those years that transformed his political perspective. This feels like a slick-and-glossy campaign biography that you hurriedly slap together and hurl at people while attempting to be a new kind of political an I’m certain there are better more thorough biographies of Reagan out there that would be more informative. So why this one? I knew precious little about his years as an actor. This book fills you in on those years. It also deals with his years as president of the Screen Actors Guild. It is those years that transformed his political perspective. This feels like a slick-and-glossy campaign biography that you hurriedly slap together and hurl at people while attempting to be a new kind of political animal. It’s publication date seems to coincide somewhat with the gubernatorial election of 1966. But it lacks some of the personal details that would have made it more interesting. Granted, you hear about his ardent love for the former Nancy Davis, and you get somewhat superficial glimpses into the lives of his parents; indeed, he writes this such that you gain admiration even for his alcoholic dad. But the minutia regarding the SAG strikes and settlement negotiations seemed unnecessarily detailed. The chapter on his work as spokesman for General Electric was interesting enough. On balance, this is worth reading, but it’s worth skimming perhaps, too. Those who oppose his political perspective will probably want to skip the final appendix stuff in the back. But the pre-political life stuff is interesting enough, albeit not as detailed or quite as compelling as I would have liked. I think I best enjoyed the narrative of his earliest years including his colorful radio sports years. I can't even imagine what it had to be like to make up the action of a baseball game because the telegraph--the Twitter account of his day--had gone dead. His parents are sympathetically portrayed here. He recounts the story of his dad who, upon learning that a hotel into which he was booked did not allow Jews as customers, promptly checked out of the hotel, slept in the car on a winter night, and acquired pneumonia a few days later. You see a troublesome side to all this, too. He says almost nothing about the children he had with Jane Wyman, referencing the adopted son, Michael, only in the most perfunctory sentences. His first child with Nancy, Patti, is lavishly praised. I put this in a to-read pile in the spring of 2013, so you cn see how eager I was to get at it. I don't regret reading it, but I'm pretty sure it's not a candidate for a reread.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rick Zinn

    In this As told to book, Ronald Reagan describes his life through to the beginning of the political years. It’s not bad, probably best enjoyed by fans of the President (not me). The Childhood and pre Hollywood stories are folksy and at times interesting. I was fascinated by a story about children playing unsupervised with guns almost killed him at an early age. The early days in Radio stories are all here as well. How he goes to California to spend time with the Cubs spring training and ends up i In this As told to book, Ronald Reagan describes his life through to the beginning of the political years. It’s not bad, probably best enjoyed by fans of the President (not me). The Childhood and pre Hollywood stories are folksy and at times interesting. I was fascinated by a story about children playing unsupervised with guns almost killed him at an early age. The early days in Radio stories are all here as well. How he goes to California to spend time with the Cubs spring training and ends up in the movies, all very interesting and well told. Early Hollywood and WW2, probably the best parts of the book, it is pretty standard on set stories, a few off set stories. This is probably the most interesting part of the book. After WW2 we get into several chapters about the unions and here, at least for me the book comes to a real down. He is thorough job at explain all the different unions, split offs,rump organizations and it just boggs down and I got lost. Someone who is interested in union probably would find it blast to read. He doesn’t talk about himself much, if you want to know about the Rest of Me, you will not find it. Jane Wyman is mentioned 3 times, Nancy Reagan maybe a few more times,kids hardly at all. I read it because we rarely get books by President before the post Presidential Memoirs, so any book by a President is welcome. If you are a Reagan, I am sure you will love it. It doesn’t really satisfy those who want to read about Old Hollywood. Kinda mixed, I bought at a used book store years ago, it sat collecting dust. The Movies with the Reagans book that I listed to earlier this year sparked my interest to read it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Pennekamp

    Dear God. I heard that Reagan had an autobiography that was supposed to be "cinematic." So I looked for it. But it was out of print. I wondered how the half of this country that worships Reagan, and the political party that quotes him nonstop, could ever allow this (written as he first embarked on a post-union career in politics) to not be available to all and sundry! Then I got a copy from the library... and now I know why! It's because he comes across as shallow, incredibly self-centered, an ab Dear God. I heard that Reagan had an autobiography that was supposed to be "cinematic." So I looked for it. But it was out of print. I wondered how the half of this country that worships Reagan, and the political party that quotes him nonstop, could ever allow this (written as he first embarked on a post-union career in politics) to not be available to all and sundry! Then I got a copy from the library... and now I know why! It's because he comes across as shallow, incredibly self-centered, an absent, uncaring parent (except for with Patti!), obsessed with attention, a person whose political views change with the prevailing wind... and someone who's just not very smart but acts like they're very smart. Also, he says some pretty creepy things about women, like his version of "the old adage about forced romance: when it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it." (page 100). That's right, folks! The President of the United States says that once rape seems unstoppable... just get into it!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fred Kohn

    Well, the Great Communicator does a better job communicating when he talks rather than when he writes, but this was still a fine book. Some of the accounts of his life in this book have passed into the legend of Ronald Reagan, as they are passed on, apparently in obligatory fashion, into the many biographies that have been written on the man. I appreciated the honesty of the man, passing on for posterity less than wonderful moments like when he cheated on an eye exam and fluffed his experience a Well, the Great Communicator does a better job communicating when he talks rather than when he writes, but this was still a fine book. Some of the accounts of his life in this book have passed into the legend of Ronald Reagan, as they are passed on, apparently in obligatory fashion, into the many biographies that have been written on the man. I appreciated the honesty of the man, passing on for posterity less than wonderful moments like when he cheated on an eye exam and fluffed his experience and past wage level in a job interview. The book ends with the text of Reagan's great speech "A Time For Choosing," which is a nice bonus.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Frederick

    [See my full review in "My Writings." --Fred] This book, more than Reagan's post-presidential autobiography, gives you the spirit of the man. Reagan was born in 1911. He grew up in Dixon, Illinois (with a small part of his childhood spent in Chicago.) His father was a Catholic and his mother a Presbyterian. They were lower-middle-class. Reagan's father was an alcoholic. Reagan recounts having to drag his father off the front porch while his father was in a stupor. Reagan was eleven at the time. I [See my full review in "My Writings." --Fred] This book, more than Reagan's post-presidential autobiography, gives you the spirit of the man. Reagan was born in 1911. He grew up in Dixon, Illinois (with a small part of his childhood spent in Chicago.) His father was a Catholic and his mother a Presbyterian. They were lower-middle-class. Reagan's father was an alcoholic. Reagan recounts having to drag his father off the front porch while his father was in a stupor. Reagan was eleven at the time. In adult life, Reagan did not drink much. His father was on a business trip one winter night. When he was checking into the hotel he noticed a sign saying that the hotel would not serve jews. Reagan's father, disgusted by this, slept in his car and became deathly ill from the cold. In 1951, Reagan made a movie called STORM WATCH. It was about a man who challenges the Ku-Klux-Klan. He made this at a time when he could choose his own projects. That Reagan is considered by many to have been a racist president is ironic. He appealed to some intolerant people, but I do not think he was a bigot. One could argue that Reagan's willingness to attack the Klan was due to memories of the Klan's anti-Catholic activity of the 1920s. But the book also points out that Reagan's father was a Democrat who ran WPA functions during the Great Depression. Reagan was raised a liberal. The key to his politics is that he grew up in a rural area. He was not a farmboy, but he wasn't suburban. He went to a college which was not prestigious but which seems to have given him a solid education: Eureka College. During the summers Reagan was a lifeguard. He was fit and saved a lot of lives. If you were drowning, you could do worse than have Ronald Reagan on the spot, ready to prove himself. Reagan turned his daydreams into reality. He became a sports announcer. This got him a job in Hollywood. He was never a big star, but he was something higher than a B-actor. In an age when every star played the same part over and over, Reagan played the bland guy. He turned down a role which went to Humphrey Bogart. The movie was CASABLANCA. Sometime in the '40s, Reagan began writing articles for THE DAILY WORKER. The government considered it a Communist newspaper. Reagan became head of the Screen Actors' Guild, the biggest union in Hollywood. It was during this time that Reagan became the politico we know. He began to notice the pressure being applied to the union by people who seemed to have a different agenda. Agenda! Which president used that word as successfully as Ronald Reagan? The word itself has no negative or positive connotations. But Reagan, whose dealings with Communist Party members in the forties caused him to see a Soviet conspiracy within the union he ran, developed, independently of Washington politicians, a notion of the way Communist infiltration worked. For what it's worth, Reagan came by his conservatism, not by the usual route of ingrained small-mindedness, but by having his illusions shattered at the moment of his climb. He joined the Screen Actors' Guild, became its President and then saw the hard-to-believe spectacle of Soviet manipulation of what was, effectively, America's propaganda machine. The book tells you how Reagan became the personification of Conservatism. It was written the year he made his famous speech for the ultra-conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Reagan had, by this time, a decade or so of speechmaking on behalf of General Electric, during which time he met a vast number of people at auditoriums across the country. Goldwater lost the '64 election by a landslide. Sixteen years later, Reagan won it by a bigger landslide. He was a political being who happened to have some celebrity before becoming a big political player. The idea that he was "an actor who ran for president" was a bit inaccurate. He was a salesman who ran for president. Humphrey Bogart was an actor.

  7. 5 out of 5

    J Layne

    Black & white pics included in book. A major part of this book is about the unions in Hollywood (with RR as president of SAG) and how Reagan had his eyes opened to the dirty politics of liberals. This aspect of the book was not appealing to me, but it was part of RR's life and it helped to mold him into the president he would become. Really RR reveals very little of himself in this autobiography. It is mostly about SAG with a little personal info thrown in. He does discuss his Hollywood days and Black & white pics included in book. A major part of this book is about the unions in Hollywood (with RR as president of SAG) and how Reagan had his eyes opened to the dirty politics of liberals. This aspect of the book was not appealing to me, but it was part of RR's life and it helped to mold him into the president he would become. Really RR reveals very little of himself in this autobiography. It is mostly about SAG with a little personal info thrown in. He does discuss his Hollywood days and movies he made but really not in any personal or revealing way. It is more of a rehearsal of the facts of his life, not boring but not particularly absorbing. I have learned more about RR from other authors' bios of him than from this book. The last part of the last chapter is the beginning of the developing of the RR that America knows today--his firm belief in freedom as a gift of God, NOT bestowed by any government, which then can also take it away. The book ends with RR's ""A Time for Choosing"" speech, 1964, for Barry Goldwater. The chapters in this book did not have titles, so I added my own chapter titles. See below: Chapter 1 Boyhood Chapter 2 School Days Chapter 3 Eureka College Chapter 4 Ronald Reagan Breaks into Radio Sportscasting Chapter 5 RR at WHO in Des Moines / Offered his 1st Hollywood contract Chapter 6 RR in Hollywood Chapter 7 RR in the Movies—Knute Rockne and Kings Row Chapter 8 RR in the Army—War Film Documentaries Chapter 9 Unions in Hollywood Chapter 10 More Hollywood Labor Disputes Influenced by Communism Chapter 11 SAG (Hollywood union) and back to acting Chapter 12 Movies, SAG Activities, and Divorce (Jane Wyman) Chapter 13 Second Time a Bachelor / Picture Career back under way with Warner Bros. and Universal Chapter 14 More SAG and Other Union Disputes among the Fours A’s Chapter 15 Meeting and Marrying Nancy Davis / Birth of Daughter Patti Chapter 16 RR and the GE Theatre Chapter 17 RR on the “Mashed Potato Circuit” for GE / Then back to SAG leadership and labor disputes Chapter 18 How Hollywood Changed / The Beginnings of Politics for RR and the developing of the Reagan Doctrine (The Reagan Doctrine is never mentioned by that name in this book.) APPENDIX Presented during the 1964 U.S. presidential election campaign on behalf of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. // Reagan's radio speeches written in his own hand / The title of the book comes from the film King's Row. Reagan's character, Drake McHugh, has both legs amputated by a sadistic surgeon, played by Coburn. When he wakes from anesthesia, he says, ""Where's the rest of me?"" Reagan used that line as the title of this 1965 autobiography. Reagan and most film critics considered Kings Row his best movie. Reagan called the film a "slightly sordid but moving yarn that made me a star."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonathon Sundet

    This was a great book about one of our most famed presidents. From Reagan's childhood to Reagan's great choices as president. Written by the one and only The Great Communicator. This was a great book about one of our most famed presidents. From Reagan's childhood to Reagan's great choices as president. Written by the one and only The Great Communicator.

  9. 4 out of 5

    F

    Interesting account (starts slow) of Reagan pre-governor/president. Especially of interest- communist ploys to take over Hollywood. Too much cursing for my tastes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  11. 5 out of 5

    L.P.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    This book was very funny at times, and his talk about the union (SAG) seems heartfelt: "I think we have the right as free men to refuse to work for just grievances: the strike is an inalienable weapon of any citizen." One thing I was surprised by - Reagan's optimism. My favorite parts are his description of his acting career, and when he got the acting bug in college. Describing a play he put on in college, he says: "My high spot was a death scene wherein I was strangled. No actor can ask for more. This book was very funny at times, and his talk about the union (SAG) seems heartfelt: "I think we have the right as free men to refuse to work for just grievances: the strike is an inalienable weapon of any citizen." One thing I was surprised by - Reagan's optimism. My favorite parts are his description of his acting career, and when he got the acting bug in college. Describing a play he put on in college, he says: "My high spot was a death scene wherein I was strangled. No actor can ask for more. Dying is the way to live in the theater.” At the end of my edition, if I remember correctly (I got this from the library), there are some political speeches. The ones I looked at were terrible, boring as heck, and I didn't read them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Hartigan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deborah f Tweten

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Ellenberger

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jake Fenlason

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah Shank

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joe Weathers

  19. 4 out of 5

    Doug Turnbull

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Phil Debenham

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bjc624

  23. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Clark

  24. 5 out of 5

    David Dalakishvili

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Daley

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ravenchild Gardens

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary Chambers

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teri

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