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Publisher's Summary

The conservative icon who reshaped American politics and laid the groundwork for the end of the Cold War.

In the second half of the 20th century, no American president defined his political era as did Ronald Reagan. He ushered in an age that extolled smaller government, tax cuts, and strong defense, and to this day politicians of both political parties operate within the parameters of the world he made. His eight years in office, from 1981 to 1989, were a time of economic crisis and recovery, a new American assertiveness abroad, and an engagement with the Soviet Union that began in conflict but moved in surprising new directions.

Jacob Weisberg provides a bracing portrait of America's 40th president and the ideas that animated his political career, offering a fresh psychological interpretation and showing that there was more to Reagan than the usual stereotypes. Reagan, he observes, was a staunch conservative but was also unafraid to compromise and cut deals where necessary. And Reagan espoused a firm belief, just as firm as his belief in small government and strong defense, that nuclear weapons were immoral and ought to be eliminated. Weisberg argues that these facets of Reagan were too often ignored in his time but reveal why his presidency turned out to be so consequential.

In the years since Reagan left office, he has been cast in marble by the Republican Party and dismissed by the Democrats. Weisberg shows why we need to move past these responses if we wish truly to appreciate his accomplishments and his legacy.

Cover design by Raquel Jaramillo.

©2016 Jacob Weisberg (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 09-03-18

A Concise Biography

I have read a number of the presidential biographies in the American President Series. They are very concisely written and range from 250 to 400 pages, or in the audio format five to eight hours.

This book is well written and researched. Weisberg explores a bit about what is called the Reagan enigma. He apparently was unable to be close to anyone including his children. He was known as the great delegator and never knew the details of his policies/legislation that he ordered done. Weisberg attempted to examine the Reagan presidency and not his legend. This book provides a good review of Reagan. I have read a number of the Reagan biographies and Weisberg’s book provides an unbiased review of Reagan. Jacob Weisberg is a political journalist and writes in the style of a journalist rather than as a historian.

The book is five and half hours. The book was published in 2016. Dennis Holland does a good job narrating the book.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful