Book Review: I Love You, Ronnie

iloveyouronniePrior to reading this book, “romantic” is not one of the words I’d have chosen to describe Ronald Reagan. After reading this book, it most certainly is. Which is to say: after reading this book, I like the guy even more.

Shortly after they met in 1950, Ronald Reagan began writing letters to his wife, Nancy. I Love You, Ronnie is a collection of many of those letters (together with Nancy’s reflections on them), revealing a side of our 40th President most people never knew existed.

So how exactly does one review a book like this? I’m not sure. But I think the best way is probably to share one of the letters. That, of course, means I have to choose, and choosing is hard when I’d like to share all of them. But… how about this one, from March 4th, 1972?

My Darling Wife,

This note is to warn you of a diabolical plot entered into by some of our so-called friends – (ha) calendar makers and even our own children. These and others would have you believe we’ve been married 20 years.

20 minutes maybe – but never 20 years. In the first place it is a known fact that a human cannot sustain the high level of happiness I feel for more than a few minutes – and my happiness keeps on increasing.

I will confess to one puzzlement but I’m sure it is just some trick perpetrated by our friends – (Ha again!) I can’t remember ever being without you and I know I was born more than 20 min’s ago.

Oh well – that isn’t important. The important thing is I don’t want to be without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are. I’ve gotten very used to being happy and I love you very much indeed.

Your Husband of 20 something or other

Yeah. That’s Ronnie.

Maybe it’s because I appreciate the art of letter-writing, romantic or otherwise. Maybe it’s because I enjoyed seeing another side of Reagan. Certainly – I say this with a smile – it’s because I’ve recently fallen in love myself (she’s something amazing, I’ll have you know). However you slice it, I thought this book was smashing, and I really think you ought to read it sometime.

And by sometime, I mean now.

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