Reagan: An American Journey Audiobook, by Bob Spitz Play Audiobook Sample

Reagan: An American Journey Audiobook

Reagan: An American Journey Audiobook, by Bob Spitz Play Audiobook Sample
FlexPass™ Price: $20.95
$9.95 for new members!(Includes UNLIMITED podcast listening) Add to Cart learn more
Regular Price: $25.00 Add to Cart
Read By: Paul Michael Publisher: Penguin Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 21.67 hours at 1.5x Speed 16.25 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: October 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9780525640103

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

06:53 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

11 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

05:16 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Bob Spitz: > View All...

Publisher Description

From New York Times bestselling biographer Bob Spitz, a full and rich biography of an epic American life, capturing what made Ronald Reagan both so beloved and so transformational.

More than five years in the making, based on hundreds of interviews and access to previously unavailable documents, and infused with irresistible storytelling charm, Bob Spitz's REAGAN stands fair to be the first truly post-partisan biography of our 40th President, and thus a balm for our own bitterly divided times.

It is the quintessential American triumph, brought to life with cinematic vividness: a young man is born into poverty and raised in a series of flyspeck towns in the Midwest by a pious mother and a reckless, alcoholic, largely absent father. Severely near-sighted, the boy lives in his own world, a world of the popular books of the day, and finds his first brush with popularity, even fame, as a young lifeguard. Thanks to his first great love, he imagines a way out, and makes the extraordinary leap to go to college, a modest school by national standards, but an audacious presumption in the context of his family's station. From there, the path is only very dimly lit, but it leads him, thanks to his great charm and greater luck, to a solid career as a radio sportscaster, and then, astonishingly, fatefully, to Hollywood. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bob Spitz's REAGAN is an absorbing, richly detailed, even revelatory chronicle of the full arc of Ronald Reagan's epic life - giving full weight to the Hollywood years, his transition to politics and rocky but ultimately successful run as California governor, and ultimately, of course, his iconic presidency, filled with storm and stress but climaxing with his peace talks with the Soviet Union that would serve as his greatest legacy. It is filled with fresh assessments and shrewd judgments, and doesn't flinch from a full reckoning with the man's strengths and limitations. This is no hagiography: Reagan was never a brilliant student, of anything, and his disinterest in hard-nosed political scheming, while admirable, meant that this side of things was left to the other people in his orbit, not least his wife Nancy; sometimes this delegation could lead to chaos, and worse. But what emerges as a powerful signal through all the noise is an honest inherent sweetness, a gentleness of nature and willingness to see the good in people and in this country, that proved to be a tonic for America in his time, and still is in ours. It was famously said that FDR had a first-rate disposition and a second-rate intellect. Perhaps it is no accident that only FDR had as high a public approval rating leaving office as Reagan did, or that in the years since Reagan has been closing in on FDR on rankings of Presidential greatness. Written with love and irony, which in a great biography is arguably the same thing, Bob Spitz's masterpiece will give no comfort to partisans at either extreme; for the rest of us, it is cause for celebration.

Download and start listening now!

This captivating and evenhanded biography of America’s first celebrity president, Ronald Reagan, reads like a novel but doesn’t skimp on the scholarship. . . . Impressive research, including numerous interviews with a wide array of Reagan cohorts, from 1930s movie star Olivia de Havilland to national security adviser Robert 'Bud' McFarlane, undergirds the exceptional writing. Spitz synthesizes other scholars’ analyses, the firsthand memoirs of key players, original press coverage, and archival holdings. Readers need not be Reagan fans or Republicans to enjoy this outstanding biography.

— Publishers Weekly, starred review 


  • If you find yourself longing for the golden age of the Republican Party, brush up on the humble story and folksy charm of our previous celebrity president, whose legacy — for better and worse — still animates politics today.

    — Vulture
  • Bob Spitz's nearly 800-page book paints a spectacular, sometimes-thorny portrait of President Ronald Reagan, the man who is credited with ending the Cold War (and appointing the first woman to the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor) while, as Spitz writes, struggling to show empathy for victims of AIDS and Americans with great financial burdens.

  • Readers of all political stripes will find much to enjoy in this evenhanded intelligently written biography of our 40th President.

    — People
  • The strictly chronological approach is easy to track, and because the author is such a skilled stylist, the narrative flows smoothly. The major strength of this version is Spitz's consistently diligent effort to provide context beyond just his main subject . . . Spitz also skillfully portrays numerous supporting characters, especially Reagan wives Jane Wyman and Nancy Davis. A solid entry in the realm of presidential biography.

    — Kirkus
  • This is the book so many of us have been waiting for: an epic life of one of the most significant presidents in the history of the Republic. In Bob Spitz’s graceful and absorbing narrative, Ronald Reagan emerges in all his complexity and charm, a warm yet enigmatic man who did so much to shape the way we live now.

    — Jon Meacham, #1 New York Times bestselling Presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of The Soul of America
  • Bob Spitz's Reagan is a masterfully written and well-researched biography of America's 40th President.  All the crescendos and diminuendos of Reagan's vibrant Hollywood and political careers are judiciously investigated.  Truly engrossing and monumental!

    — Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and editor of The Reagan Diaries
  • “Graceful and absorbing.”

    — Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
  • Named one of the Top 10 Books of 2018 by Publishers Weekly Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography

  • A significant contribution to the Reagan literature.

    — The National Review 
  • This comprehensive examination of America’s 40th president represents presidential biography at its best. Noted biographer Bob Spitz (previous subjects have included The Beatles and Julia Child) researches like a historian, writes like a novelist, does the hard work of providing ample and intelligent context, and remains able to take an evenhanded approach to his subject.

    — Christian Science Monitor, 10 Best Books of October
  • Publication of Bob Spitz’s massive biography of Ronald Reagan couldn’t have been more timely . . . a significant marker against which to measure our current politics and political leadership.

    — LA Times
  • Reagan: An American Journey is a handsome, handy introduction to the 20th century’s last hero.

    — Wall Street Journal
  • Bob Spitz, whose previous biographical subjects include Bob Dylan, Julia Child and The Beatles, has written a solid, sweeping narration of Reagan’s life, sympathetic but not sycophantic.

    — USA Today
  • No biographer has dug as deeply or with such verve into the making of Reagan the star . . . Energetic and engaging.

    — Washington Post
  • This is a book admirers and critics of Reagan will enjoy. The roots of the conservative movement that gave life to both the party and Trumpism can be found here, and on an even broader level Reagan's life story is a story of America, and all its promise.

    — Dallas Morning News
  • A balanced, comprehensive view of Reagan and his legacy . . . Spitz manages to evoke Reagan’s heyday in the 1980s with compelling clarity—and to suggest how The Gipper’s legacy continues to shape 21st-century politics. . . . one marvels at the telling details that Spitz manages to get in.

    — Christian Science Monitor
  • “Spitz’s massive biography of Ronald Reagan couldn’t have been more timely…A significant marker against which to measure our current politics and political leadership.”

    — Los Angeles Times
  • “This captivating and evenhanded biography of America’s first celebrity president, Ronald Reagan, reads like a novel but doesn’t skimp on the scholarship…Despite pacing that keeps things moving at a steady clip, evocative detail abounds throughout…Impressive research…undergirds the exceptional writing…[An] outstanding biography.”

    — Publishers Weekly (starred review)


  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018
  • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography
  • A Christian Science Monitor selection of the Month
  • A Pick for Fall

Reagan Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!

About Bob Spitz

Bob Spitz is the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller, The Beatles, as well as numerous other nonfiction books and a screenplay. His success in biography was preceded by a talent management career boasting clients such as Bruce Springsteen and Elton John. His articles appear regularly in major magazines and newspapers. 

About Paul Michael

Paul Michael is an Audie Award-winning narrator. He has acted on stage, radio, television, and in feature films in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. He has had leading roles in series and made-for-television movies and has guest starred in such series as VIP and Alias. He has been nominated for a Canadian Emmy (or Nellie) and has recorded over 150 audiobooks, including the international bestseller The Da Vinci Code, winning more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards.