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Reaganland review ↠ 103 Î From the bestselling author of Nixonland and Invisible Bridge comes a complex portrait of President Ronald Reagan that charts the rise of the modern conservative brand unlike ever before After chronicling America’s transformation from a center left to center right nation for two decades Rick Perlstein now focuses on the tumultuFrom the bestselling author of Nixonland and Invisible Bridge comes a complex portrait of President Ronald Reagan that charts the rise of the modern conservative brand unlike ever before After chronicling America’s transformation from a center left to center right nation for two decades Rick Perlstein now focuses on the tumultuous life of President Ronald Reagan from 1976–1980 Within the book’s four year time frame Perlstein touches on themes of confluence as he discusses the four stories that define American politics up to the age of Trump There is the rise of a newly a. I have read all of the Perlstein books Goldwater Nixon and now Reagan I loved Nixonland and I think about it all the time This one was not great for me First off it was so so long I think unnecessarily so Perlstein is a fun and insightful historian to read because he brings in cultural context to explain the psyche of a moment In Nixonland he talks about how Jaws and the Exorcist were the thrillers of the moment due to the underground threats of domestic terrorism and the cold war In this book he provides both too much context and also not enough It's still a fascinating read but it felt like a play by play of the decade It hardly covered Reagan and focused instead on Carter I still learned a lot and enjoyed it but I guess I had no lightbulb moments of understanding like I did with the other ones

Rick Perlstein ñ 3 read

Ggressive corporate America diligently organizing to turn back the liberal tide powerful unions environmentalism and unprecedentedly suffusing regulation There is the movement of political mobilized conservative Christians organizing to reverse the cultural institutionalization of the 1960s insurgencies Third there is the war for the Democratic Party transformed under Jimmy Carter as a vehicle promoting “austerity” and “sacrifice” a turn that spurs a counter reaction from liberal forces who go to war with Carter to return the party to its populist New Deal patrimony An. A old gaffe prone celebrity with a hazy command of the facts harnesses right wing disaffection to a plutocratic agenda and wins the presidency against a dull Democratic candidate who hardly anyone seems to like Donald Trump No Ronald Reagan More than just describing how Reagan went from punchline to president Rick Perlstein's Reaganland is a sweeping political social and cultural history of late 70s America cataloguing everything from gas shortages and the Iran hostage crisis to the conservative themes of The Deer Hunter while zeroing in on the tectonic shifts in American politics that laid the groundwork for Reagan's landslide victory in the 1980 election and his subseuent conservative revolution The echoes of present day America are hard to miss and Perlstein is keen to lean into them with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden receiving mentions We organize discontent claimed New Right mandarin Howard Phillips And indeed the story of the late 70s and Reaganland's center of gravity was the ferocious right wing backlash against the sociopolitical revolutions of the 60s Evangelical Christians angered by the advances of abortion rights gay rights and women's rights corporate executives eager to roll back the welfare and regulatory state and neocons disenchanted with the Democratic Party's dovish turn post Vietnam all coalesced under the conservative banner cheerfully led by the former California governor Ronald ReaganThe narrative begins in 1976 with Reagan deflecting charges that his primary campaign and subseuent lethargic campaigning for Gerald Ford played a role in Ford's narrow defeat to Jimmy Carter in 1976 Dismissed as too old and too right wing for another presidential run Reagan confounded the critics by tapping into this groundswell of conservative angst and presenting it with a warm optimistic and charismatic veneer And angst it was as Perlstein recounts the political and cultural wars of the late 70s with literary panache the initially noncontroversial Eual Rights Amendment was stopped cold in its tracks by social conservatives who feared it would undermine women's traditional role as homemakers; gay rights ordinances in Miami and Wichita were rolled back by a tidal wave of homophobia fanned by hucksters like Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell; conservatives furiously denounced the US transfer of the Panama Canal back to Panama under the jingoistic slogan of We bought it; we built it; it's ours Reading the blow by blow accounts of these fights it's striking how many of today's conservative grievances are actually tropes borrowed from this period “Make the libs mad” was uite literally in the stump speeches from Phyllis Schlafly as she campaigned against the ERA Jimmy Carter's proposed electoral reform package in 1977 that included among other things universal same day registration and abolition of the Electoral College was defeated by a lobbying effort led by Ronald Reagan under cries that it would lead to wide scale voter fraud We can at least pay Paul Weyrich another New Right influencer the complement of honesty when he said at a 1980 evangelical conference that he didn't want everyone to vote The things change the they stay the same indeed One can't help thinking after putting down this book that Reagan's key political innovation was putting a smiley face on an essentially ugly movement Yet Reaganland is about liberal capitulation as much as it is about conservative ascendency The ill fated man whose presidency overlaps this period Jimmy Carter is depicted by Perlstein as an honest technocrat who missed the forest for the trees; the man who could sit down and read the federal tax code while not realizing that the ground was shifting from beneath him The postwar liberal consensus undergirded as it was by economic good times unravelled as new economic challenges arose high inflation sluggish growth and energy shortages and a business fueled counterattack sought to hack away at the welfare state The passage of Proposition 13 in liberal California which limited property taxes to 1% of assessed value seemed to augur a new era of fiscal conservatism Instead of fighting these trends however Democrats surrendered to them Carter led the way by proposing austerity budgets deregulating large swathes of industry from banking to natural gas and installing anti inflation hawk Paul Volcker as Federal Reserve Chairman whose interest rate hikes struck a hammerblow at American manufacturing Perlstein is pretty explicit that the Democratic turn to neoliberalism began under Carter not Clinton In foreign policy Carter found success crafting the signature achievement of his presidency the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel the first time an Arab nation made peace with the Jewish state Ultimately though Carter was undermined by the twin 1979 shocks of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan The entire Iran saga is deftly told by Perlstein who makes an interesting case that the media blew the crisis out of proportion by turning the fate of the hostages into a public spectacle Still the traumatizing events of student radicals paralyzing a global superpower combined with the failed rescue attempt of the hostages in April 1980 only compounding the humiliation was practically a walking metaphor for the Carter presidency inaction weakness and failure A perfect storm of events economic stagnation social discontent and foreign policy humiliation combined with affable patriotism were enough to sweep a man widely derided by the media as a buffoonish lightweight into the White House setting the table for the conservative policy revolution that followed After four years of having Jimmy Carter scold them for indulgent materialism and suffering from a crisis of confidence Americans decided to vote for the man who wanted them to have their cake and eat it too Reagan famously posed the devastating uestion at the 1980 presidential debate with Carter Are you better off than you were four years ago If four years was enough time to pass a harsh judgement on Carter's presidency then it's fair to suggest that forty years is enough to pass a verdict on Reagan and Reaganism it did an enormous amount of harm to the country and the current occupant of the White House seems a fitting capstone to the entire conservative project which Perlstein has so masterfully and laboriously analyzed over the course of his remarkable and now finished series

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ReaganlandD finally there is the ascendency of Ronald Reagan considered washed up after his 1976 defeat for the Republican nomination and too old to run for president in any event who nonetheless dramatically emerges as the heroic embodiment of America’s longing to transcend the 1970s dark storms from Love Canal to Jonestown John Wayne Gacy to the hostages in Iran Hailed as “the chronicler extraordinaire of American conservatism” Politico Perlstein explores the complex years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency offering new and timely insights to issues that still remain relevant today. I do not have the mental bandwith to do justice to this door stopper of a book If you have not read Perlstein's three other books in this series I do not recommend starting with this book I mean if you are going to dive into an 1100 page book you might as well do it right I do think that you can skip Invisible Bridge the third book in this series and the weakest without any lost continuity though If you read Before the Storm and like his style then Nixonland and Reaganland will be a joy