Books: Somnipractor REAGAN'S AMERICA: INNOCENTS AT HOME

Somnipractor REAGAN'S AMERICA: INNOCENTS AT HOME by Garry Wills; Doubleday; 472 pages; $19.95

In the sci-fi film The Philadelphia Experiment, a youth is hurtled from the 1940s into the present. He finds solace in a motel, watching Abbott and Costello reruns. Then he switches to a Reagan press conference. "Allison," he says to a friend, "I know this guy. Is this another movie?" Her answer: "No, David, this is not a movie."

In this flawed but sweeping account of the President and the past that shaped him, Author Garry Wills happily records the incident but takes issue with Allison. He sees the President, in essence, as an auteur who "renews our past by resuming...

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