The most important biographical record of the Reagan years—from the Reagan governorship to the 40th president’s period in the White House—has not been written, until now: it is the story of Ronald Reagan’s indispensable man, confidant, and single most important adviser: William P. Clark, known to many as simply The Judge.
The reason Reagan had such trust in Clark was because Clark was a devout, orthodox, staunch Catholic who always put his faith first in life. It was Clark who turned Reagan around on the abortion issue. Clark's strong Catholicism is the rock of his whole life, and Reagan recognized and deeply respected that.
With his record, resume, and the respect he earned from so many quarters, why did Bill Clark never pen an autobiography? Why did he never write memoirs, even while less influential advisers advanced their stories in the 1980s, proclaiming theirs to be the authoritative “insider’s account” of the Reagan presidency? And why did Clark not write that story as everyone—from top Reagan officials such as Cap Weinberger to authoritative Reagan biographers such as Lou Cannon—urged him to do so?
Bill Clark’s reluctance to promote himself stopped him from picking up pen and paper. Instead, at long last, he acquiesced to the writing of this biography. Paul Kengor did the convincing, and Pat Clark Doerner worked with Clark to painstakingly review the manuscript—after Kengor and Doerner together wrote this fascinating account of one man’s life, from a ranch house to the White House and then, again, back to the ranch—to what Ronald Reagan called the “sunset of life.”
Reagan biographers such as Edmund Morris and major publications like the New York Times Magazine and Time all agree: Bill Clark was Ronald Reagan’s single most trusted aide, perhaps the most powerful national security advisor in American history. His close relationship with Reagan allows special insight into the President as well as other close friends from the earliest Reagan years: Lyn Nofziger, Cap Weinberger and Bill Casey. Also featured are the exquisite Clare Boothe Luce; the elegant Nancy Reagan; the mercurial Alexander Haig; Britain's "Iron Lady," Margaret Thatcher; France's wily François Mitterrand, the saintly Pope John Paul II, and an anxious Saddam Hussein, among others.
With Reagan, Clark accomplished many things, but none more profound than the track they laid to undermine Soviet communism, to win the Cold War. As this book shows, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clark, two ranchers, a president and his top hand, truly changed history. At long last, over two decades after that significant accomplishment, Bill Clark shares the details of that extraordinary effort, many of which—as readers of this book will learn—have never been reported. Includes 32 pages of photos, in black and white and color.
Visit the official Judge site here, where you can see more pictures and read excerpts!
Paul Kengor is the acclaimed author of the best-selling books God and Ronald Reagan, God and George W. Bush, and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. He is a professor of Political Science at Grove City College, and is a frequent contributor to MSNBC, C-SPAN, NPR, FOX NEWS.
Patricia Clark Doerner, 4th generation Ojai rancher, is a writer, historian and community activist, with a B.A. (English Literature) from the University of California and a graduate degree (Anglo-Irish Literature) from University College Dublin. She has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and at Cal State University, Northridge and publishes and lectures on local history and the history of Ireland.
“Bill Clark was at Ronald Reagan’s side during some exciting and challenging times. This book is an insight into a man who, though perhaps not a household name, served our country well. He will always have my respect for all he did for the United States of America.”
— President George H. W. Bush
“Under sometimes difficult circumstances, Bill Clark knew how to make friends—even with Democrats. I am proud to have been one of them.”
— President Jimmy Carter
“Readers of this book will see that Bill Clark not only served Ronald Reagan as counsel, close advisor, and friend, but at times as a form of conscience. This is not only a great book about Bill Clark but a great book about my dad. No one who worked for Ronald Reagan knew him like Bill Clark, and that fact comes through in this book. I learned more about my dad in this biography than probably any other. The Judge is not only informative and eye-opening but a riveting read. I couldn’t put it down.”
— Michael Reagan, President Ronald Reagan’s son
“It’s now more than time that Bill Clark get full recognition for all that he did with and for Ronald Reagan. He was one of the most influential people in Washington.... He was enormously important in the achievement of the President’s goals and his success—
including during the governor years—but that’s generally not known today.”
— Casper “Cap” Weinberger, Former Secretary of Defense
“More than any others, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clark won the Cold War. Period.”
— Roger Robinson, Jr., Former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs, NSC
"With the coming of The Judge we now have the definitive Reagan-era biography ... Judge Clark was Ronald Reagan's only real friend and soul-mate. These two men operated on the same wavelength for thirty years....Best of all, the insights into key movements of Reagan history is unique. No one else had the access. This is the definitive history. Do not miss it; its a great read."
— T. C. Reed, Former Air Force Secretary and author, At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War
A serious moment inside . . . Clark, Bush, and Reagan, August 1982.
Enjoying life: dinner at Clark residence in Oxnard, pre-campaign 1966.