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

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The election that changed everything: Craig Shirley's masterful account of the 1980 presidential campaign reveals how a race judged "too close to call" as late as Election Day became a Reagan landslide-and altered the course of history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A first-rate work of insider history. His book reads like Bob Woodward at his very best. . . . Shirley has accomplished a great feat of scholarship and research, and it could not have come at a better time . . . A monumental accomplishment.” —National Review

“Shirley has proven himself a master of presidential campaign histories—a true heir to Theodore White. . . . An exhaustive study that . . . will not anytime soon—if ever—be surpassed.” —American Spectator

“An unbelievable book . . . I was part of the Reagan Revolution and I didn’t know 80 percent of this stuff! . . . It’s worth reading, and reading right now.” —Mark Levin, radio host, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Anyone who would understand the Reagan victory of 1980 and the movement that eliminated the Soviet Union and revitalized America must read—indeed must study—Craig Shirley’s brilliant, comprehensive work.” —Newt Gingrich

“A superb insider’s account . . . Full of anecdotes that have never been published before.” —Houston Chronicle

“Shirley has done extensive interviewing and research for Rendezvous with Destiny, and it’s a terrific read—for political junkies of all ideological stripes.” —Michael Barone, Washington Examiner

“Conservatives will love this book, and political junkies of all stripes will find it fascinating. Readers looking for high drama will eagerly absorb its more than 600 pages. . . . It is the behind-the-scenes drama that lends real suspense to the narrative.” —Washington Times

“This exhilarating history . . . arrives, serendipitously, at a moment when conservatives are much in need of an inspiriting examination of their finest hour.” —George F. Will, from the Foreword

“A scandal that once looked like it could take down a president, but soon fizzled for lack of hard evidence, gets a closer look in a new book, Rendezvous with Destiny. . . . Shirley’s new book sheds new light on the scandal. . . . The web of evidence Shirley weaves all leads to one man.” —

“A much broader look at the campaign that elected Reagan . . . Shirley has gathered a wealth of evidence.” —Politico

“Provides the first inside look at the historic 1980 election . . . Shirley shows how close Reagan’s campaign came to collapsing in the Republican primaries&#8212and how the candidate turned things around.” —National Review Online

“The genius of Shirley’s work is to take stories we already know about, and fill in the details that take you, the reader, right into the room with the principals.” —CQ Politics

“Shirley puts to rest one of the great political mysteries: who stole Carter’s debate briefing books? . . . Shirley also reveals that the Kennedy family had a long memory on Election Day. . . . When it came time for the election, virtually all of them voted for Ronald Reagan.” —NewsMax

“Wonderfully researched and a treasure trove of information . . . It is incredibly moving too. . . . There are numerous new books about Ronald Reagan, and while many don't offer a lot of new information, this one does.” —Acton Institute

“Prodigiously researched and well noted . . . Engaging and revealing . . . When future historians re-examine the 1980 campaign, one of their first stops is likely to be Rendezvous with Destiny.” —Lou Cannon, Daily Caller

“What a hell of a good book!” —Larry Kudlow, CNBC

“We don’t have to get very far in Craig Shirley’s new book about Reagan to know that, yes, there is still a lot we didn’t know about Reagan and how he came to the White House. . . . A fascinating book!” —Bob Schieffer, CBS

“Has a you-are-there quality. [Shirley’s] intention is to provide the reader with a definitive history of the 1980 campaign, and he succeeds. . . . A trove of colorful, dramatic tales. . . . Shirley gives us a lively ride on the electoral roller coaster.” —Weekly Standard

“As conservatives continue to try to reinvent themselves in the image of RR, it is helpful to have at our disposal this meticulously researched tome detailing how ‘The Great Communicator’ overcame the Republican establishment to oust an incumbent president——and ultimately, to change the world.” —Politics Daily

“A compellingly written, thoroughly documented treatise that is essential reading for anybody who seeks to understand what happened and why on Reagan’s third try for the White House.” —Washington Examiner

“Well-written, filled with information, and a pleasure to read.” —Doug Bandow

“Best. Reagan. Book. Evah!” —Robert Stacy McCain

Rendezvous with Destiny offers a series of important practical lessons on how to run a presidential campaign, including coherent ideology and strategic nimbleness when circumstances change. Whether the reader is a Reagan fan or not, that takeaway alone makes Craig Shirley’s book a top political read.” —David Mark, Politico

“Masterful . . . Shirley’s books will be the definitive works on both Reagan elections.” —Human Events

“Enthralling . . . This book is full of true words, deep insights, long memories, and occluded details. . . . Shirley summons [the 1980 campaign] back to throbbing, vivid and immediate life.” —David Frum

“Offers more than a few pointers on what conservatives and Republicans should do in the future. And on top of that, it’s an illuminating look back at the watershed 1980 election.” —

“A new book by Craig Shirley tells the exhilarating story of how Reagan triumphed and made us believe it was morning in America again.” —Eagle Forum

“The book covers every aspect of the 1980 campaign: from Reagan’s comeback after losing the Iowa caucuses to the behind-the-scenes staff battles and the mystery of who stole President Jimmy Carter’s debate briefing books.” —The Hill

“Well-researched and well-written, and it gives insight into Reagan’s journey to the Oval Office.” —Roll Call

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935191933
  • Publisher: ISI Books
  • Publication date: 1/5/2011
  • Edition description: 2
  • Pages: 740
  • Sales rank: 517,062
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig Shirley is the author of the New York Times bestseller December 1941 and the critically acclaimed Reagan’s Revolution, the first book detailing Reagan’s pivotal 1976 challenge to President Gerald Ford in the Republican primaries. Shirley is also president of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, an influential government relations and marketing firm. A much-sought-after political adviser and commentator, Shirley has written for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Weekly Standard, among other publications.

George F. Will is a Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist for the Washington Post and the bestselling author of One Man’s America.

Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House and the bestselling author of Real Change and Winning the Future.

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Table of Contents

Foreword George F. Will XI

Prologue A New Beginning 1

Chapter 1 Exit, Stage Right 12

Chapter 2 Return of the Republicans 29

Chapter 3 Le Malaise 42

Chapter 4 The Front-Walker 65

Chapter 5 The Undiscovered Countryside 76

Chapter 6 The Asterisk Also Rises 95

Chapter 7 Bush Bears Down 110

Chapter 8 Descent into the Maelstrom 122

Chapter 9 Fast Times at Nashua High 140

Chapter 10 Reagan Romps 156

Chapter 11 Under New Management 171

Chapter 12 Ford Tees Off 188

Chapter 13 Now Anderson 205

Chapter 14 Bush's Counteroffensive 219

Chapter 15 Reagan's Democrats 233

Chapter 16 The Appalachian Trail 249

Chapter 17 West of Eden 265

Chapter 18 Winning Is Good 278

Chapter 19 Six Men Out 289

Chapter 20 Coming of Age 300

Chapter 21 The Road to Detroit 312

Chapter 22 Summer in the City 324

Chapter 23 At Center Stage 335

Chapter 24 Motown Madness 349

Chapter 25 Family, Work, Neighborhood, Peace, and Freedom 370

Chapter 26 Horse Latitudes 385

Chapter 27 The Democrats 401

Chapter 28 Corbin 417

Chapter 29 General Quarters 442

Chapter 30 Slouching Towards November 455

Chapter 31 The Torrents of Autumn 470

Chapter 32 Mission from God 485

Chapter 33 Stalled 498

Chapter 34 On Deck 514

Chapter 35 Cleveland 527

Chapter 36 Meltdown 545

Chapter 37 Entrance, Stage Left 559

Epilogue Destiny 584

Author's Note 601

Afterword 615

Notes 619

Bibliography 704

Acknowledgments 719

Index 724

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Customer Reviews

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