Reckoning with Reagan: America and Its President in the 1980s

Overview

At the height of Ronald Reagan's popularity in July 1986, Time magazine wrote glowingly of how he had "found America's sweet spot." Reagan seemed a "magician who carries a bright, ideal America like a holograph in his mind and projects its image in the air." Not since the rhapsody about "Camelot" that surrounded John F. Kennedy in the wake of his assassination had a president been spoken of so reverently. Reagan pledged to bring Americans a "little good news" and during the next eight years, through recession and...

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Reckoning with Reagan: America and Its President in the 1980s

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Overview

At the height of Ronald Reagan's popularity in July 1986, Time magazine wrote glowingly of how he had "found America's sweet spot." Reagan seemed a "magician who carries a bright, ideal America like a holograph in his mind and projects its image in the air." Not since the rhapsody about "Camelot" that surrounded John F. Kennedy in the wake of his assassination had a president been spoken of so reverently. Reagan pledged to bring Americans a "little good news" and during the next eight years, through recession and recovery, cold war and detente, success and scandal Reagan forged a powerful bond with the public. His popularity appeared so unrelated to actual achievements and so undiminished by failure that Colorado Representative Pat Schroeder dubbed him the "Teflon president." Providing a brief but comprehensive and non-polemical overview of what exactly took place during the Reagan years, Michael Schaller presents a lively account of the Reagan presidency, weighing the president's great personal and political popularity against the effects of his economic, social, diplomatic, and strategic decisions.
Much more than an account of Reagan the man, Schaller offers us a fascinating evaluation of the Reagan phenomenon, providing an accessible introduction for Americans struggling to understand the illusory and actual impact of the Reagan administration on the 1980s and on years to come.

A professor of history offers an illuminating look at Reaganism as an American phenomenon. Schaller shows how Reagan created an illusion of national prosperity and global power when these were in fact declining, and he examines Reaganomics, the rise of political Christianity, the war on drugs, relations with the Soviet Union, and more. 8 halftones.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195090499
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 8.94 (w) x 5.81 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Schaller is Professor of History at the University of Arizona. He is the author of a number of books, including Douglas MacArthur: The Far Eastern General, The American Occupation of Japan: The Origins of the Cold War in Asia, and The United States and China in the Twentieth Century.

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Table of Contents

1 The Man on Horseback 3
2 The Domestic Achievement 1981-1989 35
3 Rhetoric, Reality, and Results: The Reagan Years at Home 67
4 Prophets (Profits) of De-regulation 99
5 Tall in the Saddle: Reagan and the New Cold War 119
6 The Iran-Contra Affair and the "End" of the Cold War 149
Conclusion 179
Bibliography 183
Index 187
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