Books: Midterm Exam

GAMBLING WITH HISTORY by Laurence I. Barrett Doubleday; 511 pages; $19.95

For all the affability of Ronald Reagan as a man, Washington journalists consider his a closed presidency. Aides have repeatedly tightened opportunities for reporters to ask Reagan impromptu questions. Ranking officials sometimes pride themselves on being unhelpful, and—in a futile White House attempt to stem unwanted leaks—for a time all but half a dozen of them were to be barred from talking off the record. Nonetheless, Laurence I. Barrett seems to have established access to the President and his men...

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