The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008
The past thirty-five years have marked an era of conservatism. Although briefly interrupted in the late 1970s and temporarily reversed in the 1990s, a powerful surge from the right has dominated American politics and government. In The Age of Reagan, Sean Wilentz accounts for how a conservative movement once deemed marginal managed to seize power and hold it, and the momentous consequences that followed.
Ronald Reagan has been the single most important political figure of this age. Without Reagan, the conservative movement would have never been as successful as it was. In his political persona as well as his policies, Reagan embodied a new fusion of deeply right-leaning politics with some of the rhetoric and even a bit of the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and John F. Kennedy's New Frontier. In American political history there have been a few leading figures who, for better or worse, have placed their political stamp indelibly on their times. They include Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt—and Ronald Reagan. A conservative hero in a conservative age, Reagan has been so admired by a minority of historians and so disliked by the others that it has been difficult to evaluate his administration with detachment. Drawing on numerous primary documents that have been neglected or only recently released to the public, as well as on emerging historical work, Wilentz offers invaluable revelations about conservatism's ascendancy and the era in which Reagan was the preeminent political figure.
Vivid, authoritative, and illuminating from start to finish, The Age of Reagan raises profound questions and opens passionate debate about our nation's recent past.