Craig Shirley

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Craig Shirley
Craig Shirley.jpg
Born (1956-09-24) September 24, 1956 (age 57)
Syracuse, New York, USA
Nationality American
Alma mater Springfield College
Occupation Reagan biographer and historian
Spouse(s) Zorine Shirley
Children 3 sons and 1 daughter

Craig Shirley (born September 24, 1956) is an American author and conservative public affairs consultant. He is best known as "one of the most esteemed Ronald Reagan biographers" [1] and author of two critically praised bestselling books on U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America and Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All. His third book, December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World, is a New York Times bestselling book, making the first of multiple appearances on the list in December 2011.[2]

He is now working on three more books on Reagan[3] including “Last Act,” a detailed look into Ronald Reagan’s final years [4] and a book about Reagan's 1968 run. He is also writing a book about Dwight Eisenhower's personal physician.


Craig Shirley has been professionally involved in American politics and government for almost three decades. He has worked in government and on campaigns at the congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential levels. A native of Syracuse, New York, he is a graduate of Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he majored in history. He served in 1978 as press secretary to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey on his upset win in New Hampshire and came with the Senator to Washington, D.C. to serve on his Capitol Hill staff. In 1981, Craig Shirley moved to New York City where he served as an account executive with a major New York advertising firm. There he managed and supervised agency programs for the New York Racing Association and other high profile clients. As Communications Advisor to the Republican National Committee in 1982, Shirley traveled across the country advising dozens of campaigns and state committees on public relations, political advertising, and campaign strategy.

In 1984, during the presidential campaign, Craig Shirley was the Director of Communications for the National Conservative Political Action Committee, America’s largest independent political committee, which spent over $14 million on behalf of President Ronald Reagan’s re-election. He also ran the Fund for America’s Future, the political action committee of Vice President George H.W. Bush working closely with the future President George W. Bush. Shirley was also involved with organizing conservative support for George H. W. Bush’s 1988 presidential bid.

He ran a major advertising and public relations campaign supporting President Bush and Operation Desert Storm, successfully represented the Embassy of the State of Kuwait, and was placed in charge of public relations for an international conference on democracy hosted in Prague by President Václav Havel of then Czechoslovakia. In 1992, Shirley re-opened Craig Shirley & Associates.[5] In addition to working with a host of political, corporate, and trade concerns, he also served as an informal advisor to the 1996 campaign of Republican Presidential nominee Senator Bob Dole. In 2000, the firm provided in-kind support to the presidential campaign of then Governor George W. Bush as well as the Florida recount. In that same year, Craig Shirley & Associates became Shirley & Banister Public Affairs with the promotion of Diana Banister from vice president to partner.

He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Reagan Ranch[6] and has lectured at the Reagan Library.[7]

He was chosen in 2005 by Springfield College as their Outstanding Alumnus and has been named the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan's alma mater. His book December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World (2011), was nominated for 2011 Book of the Year Award by ForeWord Reviews magazine.[8] He lectured also at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library [9] and Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics.[10]

Shirley is the founder of the Ft. Hunt Youth Lacrosse Program, was coach there for 14 years, compiling a record of 121 wins, 19 losses and 4 ties, winning several championships. In the 20 plus years since Shirley founded the program, thousands of boys and girls have enjoyed learning and playing for Ft. Hunt. He was also an editor of Coaching Youth Lacrosse, published by the Lacrosse Foundation. [11]

Personal life[edit]

Craig Shirley and his wife, Zorine, are the parents of four children. They reside at "Trickle Down Point" on the Rappahannock River in Lancaster, Virginia. His varied interests include sailing, waterskiing, sport shooting, renovating buildings, and scuba diving. He was a decorated contract agent for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Op-eds and media appearances[edit]

Shirley is a frequent commentator on politics. He has written for publications including the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, Townhall, the Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, and many other publications. He is also frequently sought after for televised interviews on all major networks, including Fox News Channel, MSNBC, C-SPAN and CNN.

Shirley is the chairman of the revived political action committee, Citizens for the Republic, originally established in January 1977 by Ronald Reagan after his defeat for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination the preceding summer.[12] On its website, Citizens for the Republic describes itself as a "national organization dedicated to revitalizing the conservative movement. Through education, grassroots organization, advocacy, and political activism ... promoting the principles of limited government, maximum freedom, personal responsibility, peace through strength, and defense of the dignity of every individual."[13] The CFTR directors include former Reagan advisors and consultants Peter D. Hannaford and Ed Meese.[13]


  • Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All (Thomas Nelson, 2005)[14]
  • Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2009)[15]
  • December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World (Thomas Nelson, 2011)[16]
  • Citizen Newt: The Rise, Fall, and Future of Speaker Gingrich (Thomas Nelson, 2014)[17]

External links[edit]

  • [1] Biography on the Shirley & Banister Public Affairs website
  • [2] Personal website
  • [3] Archive of op-eds for Politico
  • [4] Archive of op-eds for
  • [5] Archive of op-eds for the Weekly Standard
  • [6] "How the GOP lost its way," op-ed by Shirley in the Washington Post in 2006
  • [7] "December 1941" Book Review by Cal Thomas


  1. ^ "America Remains Exceptional Because of Reagan’s ‘Informed’ Patriots" (web). Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "New York Times Bestsellers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-25. 
  3. ^ Shirley, Craig (2011). December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-59555-457-4. 
  4. ^ "Inside the Beltway: A Reagan reminder" (web). Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Craig Shirley's Bio". Retrieved 1/9/2012. 
  6. ^ "Reagan Ranch Board of Governors". Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  7. ^ "Lecture with author Craig SHirley" (web). Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ "BOTYA 2011 Finalists In History (Adult Nonfiction)" (web). Retrieved June 24, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Ninth Annual Roosevelt Reading Festival" (web). Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Friends of the Dole Institute Private Annual Dinner With Craig Shirley, author of Rendezvous with Destiny" (web). Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Sure Thing with Craig Shirley" (web). Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Citizens for the Republic: Who We Are". Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "CFTR's Mission". Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  14. ^ Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign that Started it All. Thomas Nelson. 2010. ISBN 978-1-59555-342-3. 
  15. ^ Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America. 2011. ISBN 978-1-935191-93-3. 
  16. ^ December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World. Thomas Nelson. 2011. ISBN 978-1-59555-457-4. 
  17. ^ Citizen Newt: The Rise, Fall, and Future of Speaker Gingrich. Thomas Nelson. 2014. ISBN 978-1-59555-448-2.