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Ronald Reagan : a graphic biography
Andrew Helfer
Adult Nonfiction E877.2 .H45 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Ronald Reagan was a controversial president, no question. Revered by some, reviled by others, he was acknowledged to be an orator of the highest order. This "graphic biography" sets out to explore Reagan's life, but the creative team seems unsure which side they're on, so they veer between gauzy hagiography and hard-fact criticism without ever offering a coherent thesis about Reagan's appeal or legacy. Helfer (Batman: Journey into Night) is strongest when he lets Reagan speak for himself (the dialogue on the page when Reagan is shot is particularly effective). Buccellato (Battle of the Bands) and Staton (Green Lantern) provide interesting graphics-showing the rapid successive deaths of the hardliners who preceded Gorbachev as a series of X-ed out portraits, or unraveling the complicated self-dealing behind Reagan's GE Theater job with a cleverly modified organization chart. Overall, the cartoony art fits Reagan's "aw-shucks" persona, but undercuts Helfer's discussion of Reagan-era scandals. Helfer also crowds more powerful images (like the Challenger explosion) with wordy caption boxes. This book makes an adequate primer of the Reagan era, but the lack of coherence limits its appeal. There are too many jabs for Reagan's disciples, and not enough bite for his critics. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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