This edition of the book is being published 30 years after President Reagan’s iconic demand came to fruition with the fall of the Berlin Wall, 40 years after Margaret Thatcher became the United Kingdom’s first female Prime Minster, 50 years after the United States won the Space Race with a small step and a giant leap, 60 years after America’s begrudging recognition of Fidel Castro’s regime, 70 years after the establishment of NATO, and 80 years after Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Pope Jean Paul II’s—then named Karol Wojtya—home country of Poland.
In this—our time—a time of social, civil, political, and international tension, past lessons must be revisited, and the courageous acts of past leaders emulated. Because, as President Reagan reminded the audience at the 1976 Republican National Convention, “people a hundred years from now, who will know all about us…”, they will know whether our generation kept the “freedom that we have known”, and whether they should, “thank God for those people…who kept [them], now a hundred years later, free”.
In his thrilling account, O’Sullivan—a former Special Advisor to Prime Minister Thatcher—sheds light on the personal and political experiences of the President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister, from their emergence as fresh and energetic thinkers, to their roles as stalwart defenders of democracy and vanquishers of the Cold War Soviet monolith. With his book, O’Sullivan gives color to a time when the freedoms demanded by the world, were often at odds with the values of those that bled to secure the right to demand them. In this time of extreme flux, the world needed leaders with sufficient perspective to push for positive change, while holding fast to fundamental democratic truths—all the time ensuring the world’s demand for progress did not leave the West overextended and exposed.
Each of these three leaders, bore witness to Nazi atrocities in 40s, the spread of Soviet-led international communism in the 50s, the social, political, and scientific revolutions of the 60s, and—with the fall of Saigon as the backdrop—the growth of political terrorism and increased communist oppression in the 70s. Faced with uncertainty, the late 1970s and the 1980s were a time of intense and often overwhelming global and cultural change. It was a time, O’Sullivan posits, in which Reagan, Thatcher, and Wojtya were sufficiently and specifically equipped to shoulder the duty of leadership. In their rising to the occasion, President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II would go on to serve as the bridge in leadership between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers, with all three open to differing perspectives, but decisive in moments of great instability; mindful of the critical eye of posterity, but cognizant of the need for temperance and diplomacy in the moment.
With The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World, O’Sullivan allows us to forego cycles of criticism and exaltation, and move towards a more appropriate contextualization of these three polarizing, but effective world leaders; showing that, though flawed at times, their policy decisions were made with the survival of democracy and the suffering of the oppressed in mind.
Gryphon Editions is proud to present this book as a special, signed, leather-bound edition.