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Movie Nights with the Reagans: A Memoir

Publisher: Simon and Schuster • Feb. 27, 2018 • 288 pages

Former special advisor and press secretary to President Ronald Reagan shares an intimate, behind-the-scenes look inside the Reagan presidency—told through the movies they watched together every week at Camp David.

What did President Ronald Reagan think of Rocky IV? How did the Matthew Broderick film WarGames inform America’s missile defense system? What Michael J. Fox movie made such an impression on President Reagan that he felt compelled to mention it in a speech to the Joint Session of Congress?

Over the course of eight years, Mark Weinberg traveled to Camp David each weekend with Ronald and Nancy Reagan. He was one of a few select members invited into the Aspen Lodge, where the First Family screened both contemporary and classic movies on Friday and Saturday nights. They watched movies in times of triumph, such as the aftermath of Reagan’s 1984 landslide, and after moments of tragedy, such as the explosion of the Challenger and the shooting of the President and Press Secretary Jim Brady.

Weinberg’s unparalleled access offers a rare glimpse of the Reagans—unscripted, relaxed, unburdened by the world, with no cameras in sight. Each chapter discusses a legendary film, what the Reagans thought of it, and provides warm anecdotes and untold stories about his family and the administration. From Reagan’s pranks on the Secret Service to his thoughts on the parallels between Hollywood and Washington, Weinberg paints a full picture of the president The New Yorker once famously dubbed “The Unknowable.”

Movie Nights with the Reagans is a nostalgic journey through the 1980s and its most iconic films, seen through the eyes of one of Hollywood’s former stars: one who was simultaneously transforming the Republican Party, the American economy, and the course of the Cold War.

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