Magazine December 7, 2015, Issue

Getting a Grip on the Gipper

(David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Finale: A Novel of the Reagan Years, by Thomas Mallon (Pantheon, 480 pp., $27.95)

Historical fiction can be an imaginative way of exploring great historical characters and bringing events to life beyond the documentary evidence and witness accounts. You might have thought writers would hesitate to approach Ronald Reagan and his times through fiction after the disaster of his official biographer Edmund Morris’s inserting himself as a semi-fictional character in his misbegotten Dutch (1999), but fortunately Thomas Mallon’s invented characters in his new novel of the Reagan era don’t include himself (though one suspects that more than one is a composite of real people).

Finale follows other Mallon historical titles, such as Dewey Defeats Truman

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In This Issue


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Holding Up a Mirror

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The Week

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