"When Ronald Reagan moved into the White House in 1981, one of his first literary guests was Edmund Morris, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Theodore Roosevelt. Morris developed a fascination for the genial yet inscrutable President and, after Reagan's landslide reelection in 1984, put aside the second volume of his life of Roosevelt to become an observing eye and ear at the White House." "Thus began a long biographical pilgrimage to the heart of Ronald Reagan's mystery, beginning with his birth in 1911 in the depths of rural Illinois (where he is still remembered as "Dutch," the dreamy son of an alcoholic father and a fiercely religious mother) and progressing through the way stations of an amazingly varied career: young lifeguard (he saved seventy-seven lives), aspiring writer, ace sportscaster, film star, soldier, union leader, corporate spokesman, Governor, and President. Reagan granted Morris full access to his personal papers, including early autobiographical stories and a handwritten White House diary." "During thirteen years of obsessive archival research and interviews with Reagan and his family, friends, admirers and enemies (the book's enormous dramatis personae includes such varied characters as Mikhail Gorbachev, Michelangelo Antonioni, Elie Wiesel, Mario Savio, Francois Mitterrand, Grant Wood, and Zippy the Pinhead), Morris lived what amounted to a doppelganger life, studying the young "Dutch," the middle-aged Cold Warrior, and the septuagenarian Chief Executive with a closeness and dispassion, not to mention alternations of amusement, horror, and amazed respect, unmatched by any other presidential biographer."--Jacket.
I learned a lot about Reagan, and admired much of it; I don't think Morris likes him nearly so well.
Compare to his previous biography of TR, a self-proclaimed progressive and omnibiblious intellectual: RR was very nearly the opposite of what Morris approved.