Reagan as hero and role-model. Though Devaney does mention the distance between Reagan and his children, in general he idolizes his subject--as indicated in such chapter titles as ""The Football Player,"" ""The Gipper,"" ""The Communicator,"" ""The Peace Maker,"" and (finally) ""The Hero."" Devaney reports Reagan's career as a triumphal progress from lower middle-class origins--a progress marked by portents and (except for his first marriage and his later films) a virtually unbroken string of successes. Despite occasionally lurid turns of phrase and some presumably unintentional irony (Reagan's memory is repeatedly praised, while ""the environment"" is classed as a social program), the author writes clearly, expertly summarizing issues and events. And while Reagan himself is always shown in a flattering light (Congress is responsible for the national debt; the President knew about arms sales to Iran but not what happened to the money), those around him are not. Carter is portrayed as weak at best, Nancy as the ruthless, not-always-rational power behind the throne. Still needed: a current book for young people with more balanced judgments of this President's abilities and accomplishments. Bibliography; murky b&w photos; index.