THE REA­GAN LEGACY WARS CON­TINUE

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

His­to­rian Craig Shirley had al­ready writ­ten four books on Ron­ald Rea­gan when “Last Act: The Fi­nal Years and Emerg­ing Legacy of Ron­ald Rea­gan” was pub­lished two weeks ago - an un­prece­dented look at the 40th pres­i­dent’s years af­ter he left the White House. Mr. Shirley has shared the de­tails of his book in in­ter­views with Fox News, MSNBC, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin among many oth­ers; he’s ap­peared at the Ron­ald Rea­gan Pres­i­den­tial Li­brary and en­joyed a book party at the home of Ge­or­gette Mos­bacher.

He also joined three other his­to­rian in a tan­gle with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, author of “Killing Rea­gan: The Vi­o­lent As­sault that Changed a Pres­i­dency,” which sug­gested that the 1981 at­tempt on Rea­gan’s life se­ri­ously com­pro­mised his abil­ity to lead Amer­ica. Mr. O’Reilly, who deems him­self an “in­ves­tiga­tive his­to­rian,” has pre­vi­ously writ­ten the best­sellers ‘Killing Lin­coln,” ‘Killing Kennedy,” “Killing Je­sus,” and “Killing Pat­ton.” The Rea­gan ver­sion is cur­rently No.2 on The New York Times best­seller list.

Mr. Shirley and his fel­low his­to­ri­ans — who have writ­ten a to­tal of 19 books on Rea­gan be­tween them — penned a com­men­tary for The Wash­ing­ton Post coun­ter­ing that Mr. O’Reilly’s book “re­states old claims and ru­mors, vir­tu­ally all of which have been dis­cred­ited by the his­tor­i­cal record.” The host dis­missed the com­men­tary as a “hit piece” and stood by his claims about Rea­gan.

“The strug­gle goes on over the mean­ing and the legacy of Ron­ald Rea­gan. Some push an agenda be­cause they rep­re­sent the es­tab­lish­ment, or they want to kiss up to lib­eral so­ci­ety, and they fig­ure the best way to do this is to un­fairly trash the legacy of Ron­ald Rea­gan, with in­nu­endo and half truths. But Shake­speare was right. Truth will come to light,” Mr. Shirley tells In­side the Belt­way.

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