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Reagan's protective family keeps readers at distance


Don't think you'll get a clear peek at the memory-impaired days of Ronald Reagan in the Newsweek cover story for Oct. 2. Based mostly on written comments by Nancy Reagan and interviews with Patti Davis and Michael Reagan, the article is severely limited by the family's "pact of silence" about Mr. Reagan's condition, and it dwells mostly on mom and daughter. The current life of the Reagan clan is portrayed as a family-values "happy ending," with all the warring family members lovingly reconciled. The once rabid Ms. Davis is now Nancy Reagan's "soulmate," and Ms. Davis, who speaks to her mom daily, says she "hasn't dated for months because she can't find anyone enough like her father."

Meanwhile, in a gesture of continuity, Nancy Reagan puts a coat and tie on her husband and sends him to the office for a few hours every day, even though "friends describe him as 'in and out' and quite deaf."

Sharp anecdotes

The Oct. 2 New Yorker has an advance excerpt from Gore Vidal's memoir, "Palimpsest," due in stores next week. The anecdotes about such people as Jackie Onassis, Dame Edith Sitwell, William Faulkner and Greta Garbo are sharp, vivid, entertaining. "Jackie's life was dedicated to acquiring money through marriage," Mr. Vidal writes. "The later marriage to Aristotle Onassis was cold-blooded but necessary. . . . I suspect that the one person she ever loved, if indeed she was capable of such an emotion, was Bobby Kennedy."

Former Nirvana drummer

Rolling Stone for Oct. 5 goes big with the Foo Fighters, the new band started by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. With the Kurt Cobain-Courtney Love connection, Mr. Grohl and his band were destined for magazine covers. Mr. Grohl, however, won't discuss Kurt at length: "There has to be a line drawn, because the day after your friend dies and American Journal wants to talk to you and Diane Sawyer wants an interview. . . . No one could stop, not even for a day . . . and just shut . . . up. So I decided that I was just going to be the person to shut . . . The play gun on the Foo Fighters album is not a reference to Cobain's suicide, he says: "I love kitschy '40s and '50s space toys."

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