George Shultz and Ronald Reagan

George Shultz and Ronald Reagan

Presented with permission from Free to Choose Media

A 3 part documentary produced, written and directed by David deVries.

Part 1: A Call to Service

Part 2: To Start the World Again

Part 3: Swords to Ploughshares

This three-hour documentary series on the life of former Secretary of State George Shultz will present viewers with a rare close-up look at this remarkable man who served his country at the highest level during an unforgettable time.

Each of the three programs will offer a never-before-seen look at the inner workings of the Reagan White House. It will capture the intrigue and in-fighting as advisors vie for the ear of the President over historic issues such as Arms for Hostages and the Star Wars space defense initiative.

Through the memories of George Shultz, other cabinet members, journalists and historians, viewers will relive the gripping tensions of these times; the fear of war in the Middle East, the shock of the barracks bombing that killed 220 Marines in Lebanon, the fall of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and the presidency of Corazon Aquino and the delicate manipulations of summitry that helped determine the future of peace on the planet.

For the first time these programs will reveal Shultz’ dedicated efforts to protect his President and expose those in the White House who plotted the illegal Iran/Contra scheme.

Throughout, George Shultz’ relentless determination combined with his use of national strength made him one of the most effective Secretaries of State in the nation’s history. The series will offer George Shultz’ remarkably vivid portraits of the major players on the national and world stage in the latter years of the twentieth century.

But Shultz’ most remarkable and revealing portrait will be of Ronald Reagan himself …

Excerpts from review by David Wiedgand at

Writer-director-producer David deVries has pulled off a rather neat trick in his prosaically assembled film: Usually, when a documentary includes only those with nice things to say about the subject, we stop believing somewhere along the line, and the subject himself ends up diminished in the process.

In this case, Shultz is so smart, so credible and offers such a valuable perspective on world and American political history over the past several decades that even the use of rather hokey re-enactments of some events and hiring comic Rich Little to replicate the voice of Ronald Reagan can be overlooked.

Only once in “Turmoil’s” three hours will you hear someone disagree with Shultz, and that comes in the final part during a discussion of whether Reagan knew that Lt. Col. Oliver North and others were arranging arms sales to Iran and using the profits to support the Contra cause in Nicaragua. Shultz believes Reagan didn’t know; University of Southern California historian Richard Reeves contends that Reagan did know but that Shultz was left out of the loop because “he was too smart” and would have vehemently opposed the scheme.

Otherwise, everyone from Condoleezza Rice to Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell sings the praises of the Princeton graduate who took to heart the school’s motto, “In the nation’s service,” during a career that began with membership in the Council of Economic Advisers under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And for all that unchallenged praise, you will come away from this compelling film believing former Assistant Secretary of State Charles Hill when he says that Shultz was “among the greatest, if not the greatest, secretaries of state in history.”

You will also understand that, whether you agree with him on issues such as free trade (which is covered in the film) and the merits of the Iraq war (which isn’t), George Shultz is an honorable and thoughtful man, a master strategist and, above all, a government servant who had a vision beyond self-aggrandizement.

The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy speaks of Shultz as standing out from the crowd in Washington because he seemed “beyond ambition.”

Shultz himself says, twice in the film, “You always start with ideas. And if you don’t start with ideas, you’ll get lost.”

George Shultz and Nancy Reagan

George Shultz and Nancy Reagan