The Two Sides of Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan was the inverse of an iceberg: most of him -- the public man -- was plainly visible above the surface. Public Reagan sought glory on his college football team and when he broadcast sports events over the radio, acted in films, and entered the political arena with great success. He wanted and needed acclaim and recognition. At the same time, he would disavow ambition: It was crucial to his sense of self that he be seen working on behalf of others, and not for personal gain. But all the while, another, quieter Reagan, just as vital, rested invisibly beneath the waves. This hermetic self, who found outward expression mostly in the solitary acts of writing, ranch work, and swimming, was, in effect, the producer and director for the man onstage. In this Private Reagan, the personal drive he publicly forswore burned with a cold but steady flame. This private self, glimpsed only in fleeting, unguarded moments, formed his core. Without public acclaim, he may have been unfulfilled. Deprived of the opportunity to take refuge in his castle of solitude, he would have withered altogether. The Ronald Reagan with whom everyone is familiar could not have existed without the Ronald Reagan he rarely let anyone see.

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from My Father at 100: A Memoir by Ron Reagan. Copyright © 2011 by Ron Reagan.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12584957.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
United States Carli Lloyd celebrates with teammates Ali Krieger and Morgan Brian after scoring on a penalty kick against Germany during the second half of a semifinal in the Womens World Cup finals, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Montreal, Canada.
Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP
Elaine Thompson/AP Photo
PHOTO: In this image released by Lionsgate, Theo James, from left, Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller appear in a scene from The Divergent Series: Insurgent.
Andrew Cooper/Lionsgate/AP Photo
PHOTO: Venus and Jupiter rise together in a rare conjunction over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in the early morning of Aug. 18, 2014 in New York.
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images