The Age of Reagan by Steven F. Hayward
The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964-1980

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Synopsis

The Age of Reagan brings to life the tumultuous decade and a half that preceded Ronald Reagan's ascent to the White House. Based on scores of interviews and years of research, Steven F. Hayward takes us on an engrossing journey through the most politically divisive years the United States has had to endure since the decade before the Civil War. Overseas, we were embroiled in a war we couldn't win; at home our streets had become battlefields; and in Washington, the old liberal order was collapsing under the weight of a long string of failed policies. "It seemed that an era of American optimism and progress had come to a close," Hayward writes. "The concatenation of Vietnam, Watergate, the recurrent energy crisis, the swooning economy, the increasingly disorderly world scene, and the failed presidencies associated with these events robbed Americans of their native optimism for the future."
Meanwhile, from out of the West arose a new conservative movement led by Ronald Reagan, a one-time Hollywood actor whose speech in 1964 in support of the doomed candidacy of Barry Goldwater not only electrified a national television audience but also created a political star who would change the course of history.
With meticulous detail, Hayward captures an America at war with itself—and an era whose reverberations we feel to this very day. He brings new insight into the profound failure of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, the oddly liberal nature of Richard Nixon's administration, the significance of Reagan's years as California's governor, and the sudden-death drama of his near defeat of Gerald Ford in the 1976 Republican primary, the listlessness of Jimmy Carter's leadership, and the political earthquake that was Reagan's victorious presidential campaign in 1980.
Provocative, authoritative, and majestic in scope, The Age of Reagan is an unforgettable account of the rebirth and triumph of the American spirit.
 

About Steven F. Hayward

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Steven F. Hayward is a senior fellow of the Pacific Research Institute, a public policy think-tank based in San Francisco, and a contributing editor for Reason magazine. He holds a doctorate in history from the Claremont Graduate School.
 
Published August 23, 2001 by Prima Publishing, Forum. 811 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Age of Reagan

The New York Times

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On the other you have those journalists and academics — Richard Reeves, John Patrick Diggins, Sean Wilentz, for example — who have sought ways to recognize Reagan as a consequential president, and possibly even a great one, without ceding too much ideological ground to his conservatism.

Sep 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Age of Reagan: The Fall o...

Publishers Weekly

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Hayward offers his examination, from an unabashedly conservative perspective, of American history from 1964 through the 1980 inauguration of Ronald Reagan as president, in the first part of a two-volume account.

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The Wall Street Journal

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From Clark Clifford's description of Reagan as "an ­amiable dunce" to the Los Angeles Times's graphic ­depiction of Reagan as a Hitler-like figure plotting a fascist putsch in a beer hall, the attacks were savage, creating a backlash of sympathy even among those who ­disagreed with particular Rea...

Sep 02 2009 | Read Full Review of The Age of Reagan: The Fall o...

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