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Publisher's Summary

In this sure to be controversial book in the vein of The Forgotten Man, a political analyst argues that conservative icon Ronald Reagan was not an enemy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal but his true heir and the popular program's ultimate savior.

Conventional political wisdom views the two most consequential presidents of the 20th century - FDR and Ronald Reagan - as ideological opposites. FDR is hailed as the champion of big-government progressivism manifested in the New Deal. Reagan is seen as the crusader for conservatism dedicated to small government and free markets. But Henry Olsen argues that this assumption is wrong.

In Working Class Republican, Olsen contends that the historical record clearly shows that Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal itself were more conservative than either Democrats or Republicans believe and that Ronald Reagan was more progressive than most contemporary Republicans understand. Olsen cuts through political mythology to set the record straight, revealing how Reagan - a longtime Democrat until FDR's successors lost his vision in the 1960s - saw himself as FDR's natural heir, carrying forward the basic promises of the New Deal: that every American deserves comfort, dignity, and respect provided they work to the best of their ability.

Olsen corrects faulty assumptions driving today's politics. Conservative Republican political victories over the last 30 years have not been a rejection of the New Deal's promises, he demonstrates, but rather a representation of the electorate's desire for their success - which Americans see as fulfilling the vision of the nation's founding. For the good of all citizens and the GOP, he implores Republicans to once again become a party of "FDR conservatives" - to rediscover and support the basic elements of FDR (and Reagan's) vision.

©2017 Henry Olsen (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The REAL Reagan and principles to live by

Olsen's historian approach breathes new life into the saga of Ronald Reagan, revealing that it is principle, not ideology, that drove him. All politics boils down to principles and it's easy to see why Reagan was so successful by wearing his love for the American people on his sleeve. All politicians would do well to follow his lead and remember that it is outcomes people want, not process, not ideological exercises. Principled politics led by principled leaders, not ideologues.

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Great Book, different and detailed look at the Gipper

Great book. Very detailed research that informed the central theme. Lots of great quotes from Reagan's early years. A different perspective on President Reagan and the Republican Party. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in politics.

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Insightful and Thoughtful Analysis

Where does Working Class Republican rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks solidly in the middle. Ronald Reagan and Franklin Delano Roosevelt are presidents I strongly admire. It ranks in the middle because the subject is narrowly focused on Reagan's conservative principles are rooted in Roosevelt's New Deal principles. The author makes his case effectively although he sometimes belabors his points.

If you’ve listened to books by Henry Olsen before, how does this one compare?

I haven't listened to any other books written by Henry Olsen.

Have you listened to any of Derek Shetterly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't know but Tommy Lee Jones should be in it.

Any additional comments?

The book is persuasive. The author does a good job of connecting Roosevelt and Reagan's legacies to Trump and the modern conservatives.

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Impressive & Compelling Reevaluation of Reagan

Would you consider the audio edition of Working Class Republican to be better than the print version?

I don't know yet. I have finished listening to "Working Class Republican" but have not yet started reading it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Working Class Republican?

Time for Choosing and Reykjavík Summit

Which scene was your favorite?

All of them were good; however, Time for Choosing and Reykjavík Summit were best.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No ... there were times I had to stop and ponder what Reagan had said in a speech or written in a letter.

Any additional comments?

The back story of the book and its research would appear to be applicable to many other historical figures, surprised more historians haven't executed similar endeavors.