How Presidential Memoirs Work

Addressing Controversy

In writing her memoirs, Mrs. Ronald Reagan utilized the diary she kept while residing in the White House. The story opens on March 30, 1981, the day her husband -- President Ronald Reagan -- was shot. From there it meanders back and forth through time, covering an array of subjects, including her much criticized dependence on astrology and her relationship with San Francisco astrologer Joan Quigley:

When Joan got back to me with her advice on specific dates, I would, if necessary, call Michael Deaver, who was in charge of Ronnie's schedule. Sometimes a small change was made ... While astrology was a factor in determining Ronnie's schedule, it was never the only one, and no political decision was ever based on it.

Mrs. Reagan touches on a host of other topics, including:

  • Her reputation for being a "power-hungry political manipulator" and a "vindictive dragon lady"
  • Ronald Reagan and how she met him
  • Her children (Patti and Ron) and her step-children (Maureen and Michael)
  • The 1976 and 1980 campaigns
  • Life in the White House
  • The Iran-Contra affair
  • The Gorbachevs

A Living HERstory

Shortly after its release, Hillary Clinton's memoir, "Living History," was making and breaking all sorts of publishing records. The book's sales were so high within the first week alone that the publisher managed to earn back the almost $3 million advance (and then some) it had paid Clinton.

There were several things driving the first round of sales of "Living History" -- specifically, certain elements of controversy surrounding the Clintons' time in the White House and talk about a possible run for the presidency by the former first lady. With her husband's memoir hitting the shelves, it's highly likely that her book will enjoy a another surge of popularity.

For more information on presidential memoirs and related topics, check out the links on the following page.

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Web Pages


  • The Vantage Point, Lyndon B. Johnson, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, ISBN: 0030844924
  • The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Volume 1, 1874-1920: Years of Adventure, MacMillan, 1951
  • The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Volume 2, 1920-1933: The Cabinet and the Presidency, Macmillan, 1952.
  • The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Volume 3, 1929-1941: The Great Depression, MacMillan, 1952.
  • Memoirs and Selected Letters: Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, Selected Letters 1839 - 1865, Viking Press, 1990 ISBN: 940450585
  • The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, New York Cosmopolitan Book Company, 1929
  • Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, Volume One: Year of Decisions, Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City NY 1955
  • Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, Volume Two: Years of Trial and Hope, Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City NY 1956
  • The White House Years: Mandate For Change, 1953-1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1963
  • The White House Years: Mandate For Change, 1956-1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1965
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, HarperCollins Publishers, 1961, ASIN: 0060136154
  • Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Simon & Schuster, 2003, ISBN: 0743222245
  • The Times of My Life, Betty Ford with Chris Chase, Harper & Row Publishers, 1978, ISBN: 0060112980
  • My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan, Nancy Reagan with William Novak, Random House, New York, 1989, ISBN 0394563689
  • First Lady from Plains, Rosalynn Carter, Houghton Mifflin, 1984, ISBN: 0395352940