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Reaganland : America's right turn, 1976-1980

by Perlstein, Rick, 1969-

Format: Print Book 2020
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From the bestselling author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge comes the dramatic conclusion of how conservatism took control of American political power.

Over two decades, Rick Perlstein has published three definitive works about the emerging dominance of conservatism in modern American politics. With the saga's final installment, he has delivered yet another stunning literary and historical achievement.

In late 1976, Ronald Reagan was dismissed as a man without a political future: defeated in his nomination bid against a sitting president of his own party, blamed for President Gerald Ford's defeat, too old to make another run. His comeback was fueled by an extraordinary confluence: fundamentalist preachers and former segregationists reinventing themselves as militant crusaders against gay rights and feminism; business executives uniting against regulation in an era of economic decline; a cadre of secretive "New Right" organizers deploying state-of-the-art technology, bending political norms to the breaking point--and Reagan's own unbending optimism, his ability to convey unshakable confidence in America as the world's "shining city on a hill."

Meanwhile, a civil war broke out in the Democratic party. When President Jimmy Carter called Americans to a new ethic of austerity, Senator Ted Kennedy reacted with horror, challenging him for reelection. Carter's Oval Office tenure was further imperiled by the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, near-catastrophe at a Pennsylvania nuclear plant, aviation accidents, serial killers on the loose, and endless gas lines.

Backed by a reenergized conservative Republican base, Reagan ran on the campaign slogan "Make America Great Again"--and prevailed. Reaganland is the story of how that happened, tracing conservatives' cutthroat strategies to gain power and explaining why they endure four decades later.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Resurgent conservatism defeats enervated liberalism in this sweeping study of the Carter administration and the rise of Ronald Reagan. Political historian Perlstein (The Invisible Bridge) concludes the saga of right-wing insurgency he started in Before the Storm, his magisterial account of the 1964 Goldwater presidential campaign, with this chronicle of intensifying 1970s political clashes. It's partly the story of a grassroots uprising of conservative Christians, free-market fundamentalists, and anti-communist zealots who fought the liberal establishment on taxes, gay rights, abortion, and the Equal Rights Amendment, and found a champion in Ronald Reagan. It's also about liberalism's crisis under Jimmy Carter, a populist-turned-bloodless technocrat--Perlstein dubs him the "Engineer in Chief"--who addressed inflation and energy shortages with policies of economic austerity, budget cuts, and deregulation that hurt working-class Democrats, many of whom were then drawn to Reagan's social conservatism. Perlstein masterfully connects deep currents of social change and ideology to prosaic politics, which he conveys in elegant prose studded with vivid character sketches and colorful electoral set-pieces. ("The camera cut to Reagan, who was rocking back and forth in his place, beaming like a boxer whose opponent had just lowered his gloves," he writes of Reagan's celebrated "There you go again!" quip during the 1980 presidential debate.) The result is an insightful and entertaining analysis of a watershed era in American politics. Agent: Tina Bennett. (Aug.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Carter, Jimmy, -- 1924-
Reagan, Ronald.
Conservatism -- United States.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1977-1981.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1974-1977.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
Other Titles Reagan land
Language English
Description ix, 1107 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 921-1065) and index.
ISBN 9781476793054
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