Few politicians in recent American history are as well-known as Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. president. An iconic leader, Reagan shifted the direction of American politics toward a newly vigorous conservatism. Though he began his career as a New Deal liberal, by the end of the 1950s, Reagan had embraced conservative views. His presidency saw the longest peacetime prosperity in American history, as well as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, but also skyrocketing deficits and the Iran-Contra scandal. In the twenty-first century, Reagan’s legacy is both pervasive and contested, with supporters and detractors often divided along partisan lines. Yet Reagan’s own actions did not always fit into partisan boxes.
In a clear-eyed and insightful narrative, James H. Broussard cuts through the mythology of both sides to produce a nuanced portrait of Reagan in his historical context. Supported by primary sources and a robust companion website, this concise biography is an ideal intoduction to this fascinating president and the issues that shaped America in the late 20th century.
Routledge Historical Americans is a series of short, vibrant biographies that illuminate the lives of Americans who have had an impact on the world. Each book includes a short overview of the person’s life and puts that person into historical context through essential primary documents, written both by the subjects and about them. A series website supports the books, containing extra images and documents, links to further research, and where possible, multi-media sources on the subjects. Perfect for including in any course on American History, the books in the Routledge Historical Americans series show the impact everyday people can have on the course of history.
James Broussard's concise study subtly but forcefully interprets Ronald Reagan as one of America's greatest presidents. Provocative as well as instructive, it is an excellent starting point for discussion and debate about modern political history.
—Sean Wilentz, author of The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008
This engaging, tightly written narrative presents a balanced view of an important, media-savvy president who reconciled his ideological conservatism with pragmatic policy and stamped his personality on an era.
—Alonzo L. Hamby, author of Liberalism and Its Challengers: FDR to Reagan
A comprehensive account of one of the most influential presidents of the twentieth century that should be required reading for students interested in the presidency and in the trajectory of American conservatism. Broussard offers a balanced account of a president who was both revered and reviled.
—Stephen F. Knott, author of Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics
This sympathetic and sensible portrait of Ronald Reagan spotlights the calculated pragmatism at the core of his governing style while showcasing the visionary impulse at the heart of his campaign rhetoric. It offers an accessible profile of a towering figure whose policies continue to shape the world in which we live.
—Michael W. Flamm, co-author of Debating the Reagan Presidency
“…this book is a well-written, extensively researched, and remarkably sympathetic treatment of the 40th president, especially highlighting his foreign policy and handling of the Cold War. Summing up: Recommended.” –T.A. Schwartz, Vanderbilt University in CHOICE
Part I: Ronald Reagan
Chapter 1: A Place to Go Back To
Chapter 2: Hollywood Liberal
Chapter 3: The Liberal becomes Conservative
Chapter 4: Governor Reagan
Chapter 5: Running for President, 1976-1980
Chapter 6: President Reagan, 1981: Learning a New Role
Chapter 7: President Reagan, 1982-1984: Recession to Re-Election
Chapter 8: President Reagan, 1985-1989: "We Win, They Lose"
Chapter 9: Ronald Reagan's Legacy
Part II: Documents