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The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 | [Sean Wilentz]

The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008

In The Age of Reagan, Sean Wilentz offers a fresh, brilliant chronicle of America's political history since the fall of Nixon. The past 35 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.
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Publisher's Summary

In The Age of Reagan, Sean Wilentz offers a fresh, brilliant chronicle of America's political history since the fall of Nixon. The past 35 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. Wilentz accounts for how an extreme 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 never have 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 the spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and of John F. Kennedy's New Frontier.

In American political history, there have been a few 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 Delano Roosevelt - and Ronald Reagan.

A conservative hero in a conservative age, Reagan is either so admired by a minority of historians or so disliked by the others that it has been difficult to evaluate his administration with detachment. The Age of Reagan raises profound questions and opens passionate debate about our nation's recent past.

©2008 Sean Wilentz; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Eloquent and compelling....[A] superb account." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    John Austin, TX, United States 12-22-09
    John Austin, TX, United States 12-22-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Impressive Achievement"

    This is an exceptionally coherent, balanced, and insightful account of the years leading up to, and then after Ronald Reagan's presidency. I was not a fan of Reagan's nor of recent attempts to immortalize him as a wise seer. But Wilenz gives the man his due while also providing a brisk and memorable narrative of the sour, often heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring years that we have lived through since Carter was president. The reader is excellent. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to look into, or look out from the Reagan years and beyond.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Santa Rosa, CA, United States 11-26-08
    Chris Santa Rosa, CA, United States 11-26-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Partisan interpretation of history"

    I was hoping for an objective analysis of the period I grew up in with both the pros and the cons of the various administrations outlined in a non-partisan way. That's not what I got. The author is clearly apolegetic to any Democratic miscues while attributing nefarious intent by secret cabals to anything Republican. In that sense it was disappointing but the book did provide a fairly thorough chronology of the important events of the last 40 years. By the end of the book and the review of the Bush administration, however, I found myself rolling my eyes at the constant perjorative analysis of all things Bush - the same tripe that has kept the liberal base enflamed for the past 8 years. A historian should be objective and minimize personal opinions in favor of a tempered, even-handed accounting of the events of the period. If you're a Blue Stater you should enjoy this book.

    15 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norman Auburn, CA, United States 06-28-12
    Norman Auburn, CA, United States 06-28-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Scandal as History"

    This book is a real disappointment. If this is what passes for history nowadays among eminent scholars, it's no wonder the country has been careening to the right for decades. So much could have been written about policies and their effects, which is what I, at least, expect from historians, but instead what you get is a play-by-play account of all the office gossip from Nixon through Bush Jr. What a waste of time! Where are people to look for understanding? No more analysis or reflection than one could find in a newspaper or low-budget made-for-TV documentary.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Toms River, NJ, United States 03-08-13
    Amazon Customer Toms River, NJ, United States 03-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A horrible political hit piece.."
    Would you try another book from Sean Wilentz and/or Dick Hill?

    No, I would never buy another book from them


    What could Sean Wilentz have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Have less of a leftist bias.


    What didn’t you like about Dick Hill’s performance?

    They seemed like they enjoyed the material.


    What character would you cut from The Age of Reagan?

    The author.


    Any additional comments?

    A complete waste of money

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamey Muleshoe, TX, USA 11-02-08
    Jamey Muleshoe, TX, USA 11-02-08 Member Since 2005
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    "A skewed view of history."

    A look at the last thirty five years from the point of view of the communist wing of the democratic party. A complete waste of time if you are interested in the facts.

    13 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Agawam, MA, USA 09-25-09
    Joseph Agawam, MA, USA 09-25-09
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    "Not what I was hoping for"

    The first I don't know how many hours are basically about the evil Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld,and how great Jimmy Carter was. When he finally gets to Reagan he is very biased in that he very light touches on the pros and digs into the cons. I wish had read the reviews before purchasing.

    7 of 17 people found this review helpful
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