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

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Overview

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.” —MSNBC.com

“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.” —FOXNews.com

“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: 345,738
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig Shirley is the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All. He is also president of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, a respected government relations and marketing firm outside of Washington. 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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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • 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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    Posted January 23, 2011

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    Posted December 9, 2009

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