Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan
Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan is a 1999 biography of Ronald Reagan by Reagan's authorized biographer, Edmund Morris. The book provoked controversy with its fictional elements and sometimes ambivalent attitude toward the subject.
Edmund Morris and "Edmund Morris"
Morris used the peculiar literary device of inserting a fictional version of himself into the story. Although Morris did not meet Reagan until the 1980s, this fictional Morris made Reagan's acquaintance during their youth and followed his career through media and politics. Morris also invented several characters to provide commentary on Reagan's actions and public perception. Although this literary device is described on the book's dust jacket, it is mentioned nowhere in the text.
Reaction to this long-awaited biography were, at best, mixed. Historians felt the book was "deliberately deceptive and undeniably bad history." Some reviewers felt too many pages were spent on the fictional Morris at the expense of the subject material. Another commentator praised its "[qualified but] massively favorable" judgment on Reagan and consider the book "a failure more fascinating and moving than many a pedestrian success."
- Harbrecht, Douglas. "A Biography at War with Itself." Business Week, October 18, 1999. http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_42/b3651054.htm. Accessed April 18, 2007.
- Masur, Kate. "Edmund Morris's Dutch: Reconstructing Reagan or Deconstructing History?" Perspectives, December 1999. http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1999/9912/9912new1.cfm. Accessed April 18, 2007.
- O'Sullivan, John. "Not the Authorized Biography." National Review, October 25, 1999. http://www.nationalreview.com/flashback/jos200406052119.asp. Accessed April 18, 2007.
Morris, Edmund. Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan. New York: Random House, 1999.