Ronald Reagan, "The Great Communicator," knew the power of words. His voice confronted America's foes, comforted the nation, and hastened the end of the Cold War. Ronald Reagan's America presents the history of the Reagan years told through his memorable speeches during the defining events of the era.
Reagan's unshakable belief in the power of democracy against totalitarianism and of freedom against oppression shaped our world today. His ideas set the tone for our struggles and victories against the Soviet Union and in the Middle East, and his legacy continues in US policy at home and throughout the world.
In the tradition of Let Every Nation Know, historian Terry Golway presents the defining moments of the Reagan years, with Ronald Reagan at their center. Woven throughout the book are carefully chosen excerpts of the speeches Reagan gave at 30 notable events throughout his political career included on one audio CD.
Praise for Ronald Reagan's America
"Nothing short of terrific...The insightful commentary adds a powerful complement." -Booklist
"Illuminates the importance of public address to the success and reputation of presidents." -Library Journal
"Riveting tour de force." -Publishers Weekly
"A masterful job." -Bob Schieffer, CBS News
"Marvelous work." -Joe Conason, journalist and author of The Hunting of the President and Big Lies
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The President arrived in West Berlin on the morning of June 12. He was scheduled to speak outdoors, as Kennedy did, near the Brandenburg Gate, which was on the East Berlin side of the wall. Before his speech, Reagan met with West German officials in a building that towered over the wall, allowing the President a glimpse into the Soviet-controlled portion of the city. Kennedy, too, had caught a glimpse of life on the other side during his visit: he saw women waving to him, and an aide told him that they risked being shot for their gesture of friendship. He was enraged when he mounted a platform to give what became one of his most-famous speeches.
Reagan, in his glimpse of East Berlin, saw police moving citizens away from the wall so that they couldn't hear his speech over loudspeakers. Like Kennedy, he became angry, and brought that anger with him to the podium when it was time to speak.
The crowd ate up Reagan's tribute, his own humor, and even his attempts at German. They were prepared now for the heart of Reagan's speech: His own angry confrontation with the wall and all that it represented.
Reagan's voice was passionate, as Kennedy's was a quarter-century earlier. He remembered the sight of well-armed police ushering East Berliners away from the wall, away from the loudspeakers that would carry his words beyond the city's dividing line. "There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace," Reagan said. "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate!
"Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Table of Contents
On the CD v Ronald W. Reagan: An American Life 1 Part 1 Before the White House Introduction 13 Chapter 1 THE Speech [Track 1] 17 Chapter 2 The Creative Society [Track 2] 25 Chapter 3 We Carry the Message [Track 3] 33 Chapter 4 Renewing the American Compact [Track 4] 41 Chapter 5 Are You Better Off? [Track 5] 49 Part 2 The First Term, 1981-85 Introduction 57 Chapter 6 A New Beginning [Track 6] 61 Chapter 7 The President Has Become a Hero [Track 7] 69 Chapter 8 Breaking a Union [Track 8] 77 Chapter 9 The Zero Option [Track 9] 83 Chapter 10 The Ash Heap of History [Track 10] 91 Chapter 11 Staying the Course [Track 11] 97 Chapter 12 The Evil Empire [Track 12] 103 Chapter 13 Star Wars [Track 13] 111 Chapter 14 The Challenge of Central America [Track 14] 119 Chapter 15 The Downing of KAL 007 [Track 15] 127 Chapter 16 Terrorism and Triumph [Track 16] 135 Chapter 17 The Boys of Pointe du Hoc [Track 17] 143 Chapter 18 A Stumble, and a Comeback [Track 18] 151 Part 3 The Second Term, 1985-89 Introduction 159 Chapter 19 A World Lit by Lightning [Track 19] 163 Chapter 20 A Painful Walk into the Past [Track 20] 169 Chapter 21 A Second American Revolution [Track 21] 175 Chapter 22 The Challenger Disaster [Track 22] 181 Chapter 23 The Shores of Tripoli [Track 23] 189 Chapter 24 Just Say No [Track 24] 195 Chapter 25 Iran-Contra [Track 25] 203 Chapter 26 Tear Down This Wall! [Track 26] 211 Chapter 27 Borked [Track 27] 219 Chapter 28 A New World [Track 28] 227 Chapter 29 A City Upon a Hill [Track 29] 235 Epilogue: The Sunset of My Life 243 Notes 247 Bibliography 252 Index 253 Credits 261 About Sourcebooks MediaFusion 262 Acknowledgments 263 About the Author 264