J. Herbert Klein Celebrates July 4 With Two Books Dedicated to U.S. Veterans
When J. Herbert Klein reported for duty during World War II, he was surprised to discover that his superior officer was film star Ronald Reagan. After displaying an aptitude for drafting and design, Klein was assigned to a U.S. Army Air Corps unit in Culver City, California - tasked with creating materials to educate, train, and inspire the troops - where Reagan was responsible for incoming personnel.
"Lieutenant Reagan saw my potential and put me in charge of the unit's map program," Klein recently recalled. "The program laid the groundwork for an operation that led directly to the war's end in 1945."
Klein writes about his experiences as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps First Motion Picture Unit in two new books - a memoir and a biography of Reagan.
"I've always wanted to honor Ronald Reagan for his role in starting me in the movie business," Klein remarked. "So I decided to write a book about his Hollywood career."
This month marked the publication of Ronald Reagan'S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE: HOW HOLLYWOOD PREPARED AMERICA'S 40TH PRESIDENT FOR THE WORLD STAGE in paperback. The hardcover edition of the book was released in February to honor the centennial of Reagan's birth.
Klein wrote the book because he wanted to acquaint people with little-known facts about the former president's life as a movie star, and show how these experiences served as a dress rehearsal for his role as executive-in-chief.
Klein's book is the first to focus exclusively on the relationship between Reagan's experiences as an actor and his success as a politician. Written for a general audience, Ronald Reagan'S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE is a fun look at the 40th president's movie career - containing over 100 photos, including some from the Reagan family collection - and reveals how The Gipper evolved into The Great Communicator.
The book has received five-star reviews from Amazon.com readers, plus raves from Hollywood insiders, Reagan fan clubs, and stars that worked with Reagan.
John Tenuto of the fan site ReaganRecord.com has referred to the book many times since he embarked on his journey to watch one Reagan movie per week during 2011. Tenuto says, "Ronald Reagan's film career is one of the areas of his life least chronicled by historians and authors. Ronald Reagan'S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE is a unique contribution to this neglected era. It's an entertaining and enjoyable book."
Klein's biography of Reagan has received accolades from top Hollywood executive John Shaffner, Chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, who called it a "Great book!"
Stars who worked with Reagan have also expressed their enthusiasm for Klein's book. Frequent costar Rhonda Fleming, who appeared in four films with Reagan, called it, "A beautiful book and a wonderful tribute to a very special man."
Dorothy Malone, Reagan's love interest in LAW AND ORDER, said it's "a fun book about one of my favorite men in the world."
Russell Johnson, best known as the Professor from Gilligan's Island, who starred as Reagan's brother in LAW AND ORDER, called the book, "Informative, fun, and a real look at Hollywood from the 1930s and on into the 1960s."
In addition to the Reagan book, Klein, who will turn 90 in August, has captured his life story in BEYOND HOLLYWOOD: A MEMOIR OF FATE, LUCK, THE UNEXPLAINED, AND LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM. In the book, which is available in paperback and Kindle versions, Klein tells the amazing-but-true story of his extraordinary life. During Hollywood's Golden Age, he was associated with some of the world's richest, most powerful, most celebrated people. In addition to Ronald Reagan, whom Klein considered a mentor, he counted Frank Sinatra as a friend, Howard Hughes as a boss, Jayne Mansfield as a confidante, and Zsa Zsa Gabor as a leading lady.
"My life happened to me," Klein mentions in the book, "but sometimes I still find it hard to believe."
BEYOND HOLLYWOOD is available on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Hollywood-Memoir-Unexplained-American/dp/0615482740/
Ronald Reagan'S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE is available on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Ronald-Reagans-Road-White-House/dp/0983028052/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309122474&sr=1-1