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Rendezvous With Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America

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  • Posted December 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    If Craig Shirley Did Well With Reagan's Revolution, He Did Outstanding with Rendezvous with Destiny

    Craig Shirley is a clearly a partisan and supporter of President Ronald Reagan. However, we are all partisan in some way, but some of us refuse to admit it. That in no way takes away from Rendezvous with Destiny. The author clearly did his homework and talked to people on both sides, well, all three sides, of the 1980 campaign, including President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale.
    Shirley's book is well documented and very well researched. The footnotes are outstanding. You dig deep into this campaign from the top to the field workers.
    Shirley brings the 1980 campaign to life. People forget how close the 1980 election was at least until candidates Carter and Reagan debated. Shirley gives the reader a blow by blow account of the election and takes you inside all campaigns (more so Reagan's campaign), while keeping you excited and even in suspense. This is no easy task since we all know the outcome.
    Since President Reagan has become an iconic larger than life figure, it is tough to forget that many in the elite media considered him "stupid" and many Americans felt he was too conservative to be President. Shirley takes us back in time and shows us that many, even in the Republican Party felt that same way in the late 1970's and 1980.
    The books best parts are Reagan's New Hampshire win and firing campaign manager John Sears and company on the same day, the real story behind the proposed "dream ticket" of Reagan and President Gerald Ford, and Paul Corbin and Cartergate.
    If you love Ronald Reagan, you will love this book. However, even if you don't, you will find it interesting, not unfair to the Carter campaign, and well documented.
    Craig Shirley's last book on Reagan's 1976 campaign, Reagan's Revolution, was very good. Rendezvous with Destiny is outstanding. I cannot wait for Shirley's next book on the 1984 campaign. He will have a tough time topping this latest work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    A must for fans of the Gipper

    Anyone interestered in the politics of our era should begin with this very
    well researched study of the 1980 race. (Or better yet, start with the the 1976 race, "The Reagan Revolution")
    Craig Shirley's comprehensive study of what we recall as a landslide is a
    must for those who wish to review how populist conservatism was established, and how it can come again....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    Rendevous with Destiny, Changing the face of Campaigns for the Presidency

    An excellant read for those who wish to learn about the behind the scenes battles of presidential campaigns. What was a surprise in this excellant book was the closeness of the 1980 election between Carter an Regan as the media portrayed it. However, the election itself was a landslide in Regan's favor. The media was pro Carter and the American people it turned out were overwhelmingly pro-Regan. A change of leadership was warranted due to Jimmy Carter's mis-management of his office from a Public relations standpoint. The behind the scenes battles of the Carter-Regan campaigns were eye-opening. The one thing that stands out in this book is the viciousness of Jimmy Carter in his desire to be elected. The election was lost because of his absolute disbelief that he could be defeated. Regan may not have been the American Savior that he was portrayed, but, he did bring back dignity,and a positive feeling to the American people. Apparently in 1980 that was the difference. Of course the 1980 election and it's hardball tactics pale in comparsion to all Presidential elections since.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    This is a great book. Takes time to read but much food for thought.

    It is something we could all learn from.

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  • Posted December 1, 2009

    An extraordinary work

    I've been a fan of campaign books since Theodore White invented the genre with "The Making of the President 1960." Shirley's "Rendezvous with Destiny" is every bit as good as White's classic -- perhaps better in its detail and comprehensiveness. We oldies will recall the election almost thirty years ago with nostalgia and a sense that it was all inevitable. But our generation's nostalgia isn't as important as is the understanding of what the Election of 1980 was all about among our children and their children.

    The Reagan ascendancy actually began almost 20-years earlier when Richard Nixon's loss to Jack Kennedy cleared a path for Arizona's Barry Goldwater to seek the Republican nomination. Goldwater kicked ass in the primaries but, of course, lost to Lyndon Johnson in the fall of 1964. The skills Conservatives honed in that losing fight were the nucleus of Reagan's triumphs in 1980 and 1984.

    After Nixon's aborted Presidency and Jimmy Carter's Reign of Incompetence, America was eager to feel good about herself again and receptive to clear headed leadership. The man and the moment had met. Reagan, like most great leaders, felt the electorate's frustration and anger and was able to put them into words. More important, Reagan had the mystical vision to see what had to be done to put America back on course.

    Shirley deals well with the "facts" that led to Reagan's election. More critically, he grasps the feelings of the times --the sheer EXCITEMENT so many of us felt-- and makes them accessible to those who have no memory of these long-ago events. This book is one for the ages. It will inform and delight 100 years hence.

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