Ronald Reagan in Hollywood explores the relationship between the motion picture industry and American politics through the prism of Reagan's film career at Warner Bros. During the Depression, World War II, and the early Cold War era, the film industry served as a 'grand, world-wide propaganda base' using movies to influence attitudes about patriotism, national defence, communism, the welfare state, race, sex, and civil liberties. Ronald Reagan thrived in this environment. During his years in Hollywood from 1937 to 1952 he formed many of the ideas which were later carried into his presidency. Not merely a star, Reagan also became an articulate industry spokesperson and skilled propagandist, playing an important role in the battle to 'capture the minds' of humanity in the struggle against communism. By the time he left Warner Bros. in 1952, Reagan had abandoned his New Deal liberalism and had become a militant anti-communist. Based on hundreds of interviews (including some with Reagan himself), formerly secret FBI files, and material from more than 150 archival collections, this is the most comprehensive book on this subject to date, providing incisive analysis of Reagan's formative years in Hollywood.
Preface; Part I. The Making of a Star: 1. Dixon; 2. Learning to Communicate; 3. From Rags to Riches; 4. Reform; 5. Stereotypes and Taboos; 6. The Inertia Projector; 7. Lessons from the Past; 8. Warmongering; 9. Flying a Desk for the Army Air Corps; Part II. The Making of an Anti-Communist: 10. A False Start; 11. Labor and the Rise to Power; 12. The 'Un-Americans'; 13. Eclipse of Liberalism; 14. Black Dignity; 15. Selling Hollywood; 16. 'To Capture the Minds of Men'; 17. Loyalty; 18. A Troubled Time: Movies and Divorce; 19. 'A Fork in the River'; Abbreviations; Notes; References; Index; Photographs.