THE REAGAN LEGACY WARS CONTINUE
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.