Jordan Michael Smith recounts the history of Reader’s Digest:
Reagan was a lifetime reader of the Digest. He once used an article from the magazine to slur the nuclear freeze movement as being comprised partly of Soviet agents. It was terrifying to contemplate the most powerful man in the world getting foreign policy ideas from a pocket-sized general-interest family magazine, but Reagan was not alone. For decades, Reader’s Digest was the primary source of information and opinions about international affairs for tens of millions of Americans. The magazine did not just run any articles about foreign policy, however; the Digest had a clear right-wing perspective, which had a tremendous, though often ignored, influence during the Cold War.
I have fond memories of Reader's Digest – as a freelancer. One tiny excerpt of your prose in that little booklet and you were set for a month of rent. Back in the day when I was struggling to make ends meet in graduate school, it was 500 words for Reader's Digest that got me through. Now it's TinyPass.