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Ronald Reagan, Tom Clancy, and Storytelling with Benjamin Griffin

Season 1, Ep. 56

Modern presidents both influence and are influenced by books, movies, and television; with no commander in chief is that more clear than with Ronald Reagan. Dr. Benjamin Griffin, chief of the Military History Division at the United States Military Academy, has researched and written the definitive book about the 40th president's interactions with Tom Clancy and other authors, Hollywood films, and other pop culture: Reagan's War Stories: A Cold War Presidency.


In this chat, David Priess and Griffin discuss Tom Clancy's influence on an entire generation, how books with clear moral narratives informed Reagan's childhood, the influence of Whittaker Chambers on Reagan's iconic "A Time for Choosing" speech in 1964, the rich relationship between Reagan and Clancy, the outsized impact of Clancy's first two books, and the complicated notion of presidential "vision."


Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.


Among the works mentioned in this episode:


  • The book The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
  • The book The Third Word War by Sir John Hackett
  • The book Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy
  • The book Subregional Security Cooperation in the Third World by William Tow
  • The book That Printer of Udell's by Harold Bell Wright
  • The film High Noon
  • The John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The book Witness by Whittaker Chambers
  • The book Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
  • The book The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
  • The film All the President's Men
  • The film Apocalypse Now
  • The film The Deer Hunter
  • The film Patton
  • The film Back to the Future
  • The TV movie The Day After
  • The movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  • The book Euromissiles by Susan Colbourn
  • The book The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

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Ana Montes, the American who Spied for Cuba, with Jim Popkin

Season 1, Ep. 65
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