At least this year's Presidential contest features a real contest for the Democratic nomination that will go to the Convention. The last time in recent history that the country had such a contest was in 1976 when former Governor Reagan challenged President Gerald Ford. While I am immensely proud of my role in helping elect Ronald Reagan President in 1980, it is experience in the lonely 1976 Reagan campaign that marks one as a true "Reaganite." Many forget how close Reagan came to toppling Ford and how unified the Republican Party establishment was against Reagan, with conservative icons like Barry Goldwater, John Tower and Strom Thurmond supporting Ford. Reagan's '76 campaign was a 'smoke and mirrors' political miracle backed by an army of true believers who came of political age with Goldwater and thought that political parties should stand for something. Craig Shirley has written a splendid account of Reagan's 1976 venture pitting the ex-governor's enormous talents and fervent beliefs against the White House and the party machinery; Shirley is well qualified to write this story as he is himself a life long conservative activist and the official (and unofficial) PR man for many conservative causes and battles. Shirley's key understanding of the American Presidential nominating system and his understanding of the byzantine workings of the fledging conservative movement make this the definitive account of Ronald Reagan's warm-up run that helped propel him to the Presidency. Now comes word that Shirley, with unique access to Reagan insiders who remain, and hours of interviews with Reagan advisors like Michael Deaver and Lyn Nofziger, will soon unveil what I expect to be the definitive book on Reagan's historic 1980 victory that ultimately sparked the greatest peace-time expansion of the economy up to that time in history. Reporters, political junkies, historians and Reaganites are waiting with bated-breath for what is really volume two of Craig Shirley's savvy narrative. I for one, cannot wait.