The Chatter Podcast: Ronald Reagan, Tom Clancy, and Storytelling with Benjamin Griffin

David Priess
Thursday, November 10, 2022, 10:32 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

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. See for privacy and opt-out information.

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 film All the President's Men

The book The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

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

David Priess is Director of Intelligence at Bedrock Learning, Inc. and a Senior Fellow at the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security. He served during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations as a CIA officer and has written two books: “The President’s Book of Secrets,” about the top-secret President’s Daily Brief, and "How To Get Rid of a President," describing the ways American presidents have left office.

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