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New Ronald Reagan biography on intellect that outwitted enemies, compassion that lifted lives: ‘True leader’

new-ronald-reagan-biography-on-intellect-that-outwitted-enemies,-compassion-that-lifted-lives:-‘true-leader’
New Ronald Reagan biography on intellect that outwitted enemies, compassion that lifted lives: ‘True leader’

Acclaimed historian and Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Citizens across the United States keep looking, too — for a new leader to draw the curtains on a new “Morning in America.”

They’re getting closer to unraveling the mystery behind the Reagan mystique.

“The Search for Reagan: The Appealing Intellectual Conservatism of Ronald Reagan,” with a Feb. 13 publication, is Shirley’s newest biography of the 40th president of the United States of America. 

FIVE WAYS RONALD REAGAN PREDICTED THE FUTURE, FROM WEAPONIZED MEDICINE TO ‘MORNING IN AMERICA’

The new book chronicles what the author believes is the untold secret of Reagan’s success: strong moral compassion and the vast but underrated intellect of a philosopher-president.

“A true leader has a moral, physical and an intellectual presence,” Shirley said on Monday in an interview with Fox News Digital.

Ronald Reagan

West Yellowstone, Montana: Then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan wears the traditional white hat of the western “good guy” as he shows up for a press conference in cowboy garb at the Western Governors Conference. (Getty Images)

“I was in the room with Reagan many, many times. He was always the one person in the room who was the moral, physical and intellectual leader.”

“The left wing always knew that to destroy American conservatism, they needed to destroy the most successful conservative president in 20th-century American history.” 

Shirley launched a grassroots campaign to help the former California governor get elected in 1980. 

He then spent years working with or on behalf of the president. 

“The left wing always knew that to destroy American conservatism, they needed to destroy the most successful conservative president in 20th-century American history,” Shirley writes in the new book.

He calls his new book a “counter-offensive” against those efforts to reduce the achievements of a president of historic achievement. 

New Reagan biography

“The Search for Reagan” is the newest biography of the 40th president by historian Craig Shirley. Its release date is Feb. 13, 2024. Shirley is the author of five previous biographies that examine Reagan’s life.  (Courtesy Craig Shirley)

“Reagan has gone down in history as one of our four greatest presidents, alongside Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, according to liberal historian John Patrick Diggins,” Mark Levin, host of “Life, Liberty & Levin” on the Fox News Channel, writes in the foreword to “The Search for Reagan.”

Reagan boasted charisma, connection with everyday Americans, moral clarity, the rugged physical presence of a Golden Age of Hollywood leading man and status as the Great Communicator — traits impossible even for his rivals to dispute. 

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So Reagan’s enemies attacked what appeared to be one of the few weak links in the president’s political armor. His intelligence.

Shirley names the names of the character assassins and the revisionists.

“One of the worst books ever written about Reagan, ironically, was supposed to be his official biography: ‘Dutch’ by Edmund Morris,” the book notes.

Reagan biographer Craig Shirley

Craig Shirley is the author of previous Ronald Reagan biographies, plus the new 2024 release, “The Search for Reagan.” The 40th president “was astonishingly clairvoyant,” said Shirley, who is based in Virginia.  (Courtesy Craig Shirley)

“It wound up being a joke, with made-up characters and fake narratives. It was met with derisive reviews, sold poorly, and now can’t even be found in the gift shop at the Reagan Library.”

Yet the president’s intellect was obvious, Shirley argues. 

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Reagan outwitted the American left and won over the American people in two landslide election victories; he outfoxed the Soviet Union and won the Cold War. 

He read and quoted in his speeches the Founding Fathers and great philosophers — and he appeared to predict the state of America today in speeches dating back to the 1960s. 

“He read five newspapers a day and a nonfiction book a week.”

Reagan, among other examples of intellectual curiosity, was a voracious reader.

“He read five newspapers a day and a nonfiction book a week,” said Shirley, “along with volumes of policy memos.”

Reagan also possessed a passion for writing, penning thousands of letters in his eight years as president, the biographer states, perhaps more than any president in history. 

Ronald Reagan with flag

Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th president of the United States (1981-1989) and 33rd governor of California (1967-1975).  (Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“I consider writing to be the mark of a true intellectual,” said Shirley.

Martin Anderson, the “Reaganomics” policy architect, estimated that the president possessed an astronomical IQ of 175, the author noted.

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The president’s ivory-tower critics not only mocked Reagan as an intellectual lightweight, they branded him as a doddering old fool in his later years.

Reagan, however, was only 69 when he took office in Jan. 1981; he was 77 when he left the White House eight years later. 

By comparison, President Biden was 78 when he took the oath of office in Jan. 2021. 

Reagan at Berlin Wall

Reagan in June 1987 made his famous challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall.  (Getty Images)

Reagan ended the infamous “malaise” of the Jimmy Carter administration, boosted the national morale and rebuilt the economic and military strength of the United States

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Shirley writes, and others agree, that Reagan’s intellect coalesced a movement that proved the ability of conservatism to improve the lives of all Americans.

Ronald Reagan with flag behind him

Ronald Reagan 69 when he took office in Jan. 1981; he was 77 when he left the White House eight years later.  (Fox News)

“Reagan mobilized rhetoric into an actual political, economic and cultural idea,” Levin writes in the foreword, “assembling it into a firm and logical conservative philosophy.”

Shirley’s new book is published by Post Hill Press and is available wherever books are sold, including on Amazon

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

Kerry J. Byrne is a lifestyle reporter with Fox News Digital.

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