Republican Party heavyweight Nofziger's political memoir details Ronald Reagan's rise from perceived joke to popular President, and Nofziger's role in that rise. The most interesting passages here involve Reagan's early days in politics--his transition from former actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild to governor of California. Backed by Republican money-men Holmes Tuttle and Henry Salvatori, Reagan proved almost immediately to have superb political instincts. HIS reliance on advisers and ""macromanagement"" style, according to Nofziger, were apparent from the first. As governor, he urged aides--caught up in their importance and prone to work late--to go home to their families. Another Reagan phenomenon that surfaced right away was the governor's omnivorous but unselective memory. Nofziger, though a Reagan loyalist to the core, is catty enough to relay that Reagan's drivers and security men, prone to express their political opinions, were ordered to stop lest Reagan repeat their layman's views in an unguarded moment. If Reagan is the book's overarching hero, one of its main villains is James Baker, perceived by Nofziger as an opportunist who muted the projected Reagan revolution and betrayed true believers, a vindictive heretic willing to ""use Reagan for his own ends."" Nofziger has spent decades around electoral politics and the corridors of power, as a press secretary and as as assistant to the President for political affairs in the Reagan White House--and he is a bit flip about flaws in the system. ""After all,"" he crows, ""anyone can lie to the press, but confusing them with the truth is an art I am proud to have mastered."" Yet when Nofziger discusses his entanglement in the American justice system--he was cleared of unethical lobbying charges--his bitterness knows no bounds. A partisan, mean-spirited, but sharply observed view of a fascinating political era.