Ronald Reagan by John Patrick Diggins
Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History

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Synopsis

Affirming Reagan's position as one of America's greatest presidents, this is a bold and philosophical reevaluation.

Following his departure from office, Ronald Reagan was marginalized thanks to liberal biases that dominate the teaching of American history, says John Patrick Diggins. Yet Reagan, like Lincoln (who was also attacked for decades after his death), deserves to be regarded as one of our three or four greatest presidents. Reagan was far more active a president and far more sophisticated than we ever knew. His negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev and his opposition to foreign interventions demonstrate that he was not a rigid hawk. And in his pursuit of Emersonian ideals in his distrust of big government, he was the most open-minded libertarian president the country has ever had; combining a reverence for America's hallowed historical traditions with an implacable faith in the limitless opportunities of the future. This is a revealing portrait of great character, a book that reveals the fortieth president to be an exemplar of the truest conservative values. 13 photographs
 

About John Patrick Diggins

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John Patrick Diggins is the author of The Rise and Fall of the American Left and The Proud Decades: 1941-1960, in addition to biographies of John Adams and Max Weber. He is a distinguished professor of history at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He lives in New York City.
 
Published February 6, 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company. 528 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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his dream of an almost stateless society and his sensibility generally “partook of the tragic vision of liberalism.” And, Diggins suggests, Reagan’s religion was less inclined to Christian fundamentalism than to a Jeffersonian deism: “He seemed to offer a Christianity without Christ and the cruci...

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Kirkus Reviews

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A middle-of-the-road liberal (John Adams, 2003, etc.) looks into Ronald Reagan's soul and concludes that it was great—and that the president was "politically wise, humane, and magnanimous" to boot.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom,...

Publishers Weekly

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A professor of history at the City University of New York Graduate Center, Diggins (The Rise and Fall of the American Left ) provides an original reappraisal of R

Nov 06 2006 | Read Full Review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom,...

The New York Times

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The historian John Patrick Diggins views Reagan as a liberating figure.

Feb 18 2007 | Read Full Review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom,...

Publishers Weekly

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(Diggins notes that Reagan's record as governor of California, where he allied himself with old guard Republican conservationists, was far more environmentally-friendly.) Overall, Diggins does a superb job of tracing Reagan's intellectual development from old school New Dealer to thoughtful, Emer...

Nov 06 2006 | Read Full Review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom,...

The New York Review of Books

Reading these broadcast editorials, Arquilla found Reagan already talking like “a strategic thinker, not just an ideologue.” They showed Reagan himself beginning to think the world should be made “less nuclear.” “The idea of holding civilians hostage to nuclear attack as a means of keeping the p...

Mar 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom,...

The New York Review of Books

He does not suggest that Reagan read closely in Emerson, but notes that Reagan quoted him on several occasions, including his last speech, in which he said, “Emerson was right.

Mar 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom,...

The Claremont Institute

EvansThe Reagan Diaries, by Ronald Reagan, edited by Douglas BrinkleyThe Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, by Paul KengorThe Judge: William P.

Nov 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom,...

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