An astute account of politics and culture during the Reagan years.
Transforming America: Politics and Culture During the Reagan Yearsby Robert M. Collins
Robert Collins examines the critical and controversial developments of the 1980s and the unmistakable influence of Ronald Reagan on their making. Portraying the former president as a complex political figure who combined ideological conservatism with political pragmatism, Collins demonstrates how Reagan's policies helped limit the scope of government, control… See more details below
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Robert Collins examines the critical and controversial developments of the 1980s and the unmistakable influence of Ronald Reagan on their making. Portraying the former president as a complex political figure who combined ideological conservatism with political pragmatism, Collins demonstrates how Reagan's policies helped limit the scope of government, control inflation, reduce the threat of nuclear war, and defeat communism. In the 1980s other changes occurred as well, including the advent of the personal computer, a revolution in information technology, a more globalized national economy, and a restructuring of the American corporation. In the realm of culture, MTV, self-help gurus, and postmodernism realized the cultural shifts of the postwar era, creating a conflict that pitted cultural conservatism against a secular, multicultural view of the world. Entertaining and erudite, Transforming America explores the events, movements, and ideas that profoundly changed American culture and politics during an important decade.
A masterly synoptic account of the Reagan years (including two chapters on the Cold War)... that is especially good on domestic issues.... Collins is the rare historian who is literate in economics and public policy. He combines this knowledge with a writing style that is direct and understated. Indeed, it is hard to tell from his scrupulous prose what his own ideological leanings may be. Although he does not shrink from criticizing Reagan or his record, Collins confidently dispatches many of the well-entrenched criticisms of the Gipper that most historians roll over for, and in a way that does not read like a pro-Reagan brief.
Any student of the period would benefit from having this book both for general reference and for a lively, informative read.
Transforming America is an engaging, readable account of an important decade.
Steven F Hayward
Jerome L. Himmelstein
- Columbia University Press
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Robert Collins's Transforming America deserves to be placed high on the pile of must-read books. Collins captures the charm, tenacity, and accomplishments of Reagan, the man and president, bringing judicious insight to a decade that changed America forever.
Master historian Robert Collins has written a brilliant, balanced account of the Reagan years. His chapters on Reaganomics and business in the 80s are a tour de force and his analysis of Americans' simultaneous embrace of a permissive culture and a conservative politics is as compelling as it is fascinating.
A gifted economic historian, Robert Collins has produced a clear and compelling analysis of a critical era and a controversial figure.
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