Review of “When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan” by Peggy Noonan

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

Peggy Noonan’s “When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan” was published in late 2001. Noonan is the author of nine books, a political commentator and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. From 1984 to 1986 she was a speechwriter for President Reagan. In 2017 Noonan was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

Despite providing some degree of coverage of nearly all of Reagan’s life, Noonan’s 327 page book is not a traditional biography. Instead, it is essentially a semi-insider’s review of Reagan’s life, character and legacy. Distilled to its essence, it is a character study written by a part-time eyewitness but an astute, full-time observer.

“When Character Was King” begins in earnest with Reagan’s childhood, focusing on the aspects of his environment which shaped who he was and who he was to become. The author shares anecdotes and stories which she believes are most…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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