This is an insightful portrait of the President at his “most favorite spot on earth.” This personal tour of the Reagan Ranch, Rancho del Cielo, in Santa Barbara, California, brings the Western White House to life with fascinating anecdotes and 50 color photos, many rarely seen before.
In this ambitious work David T. Byrne analyzes the ideas that informed Ronald Reagan’s political philosophy and policies. Rather than appraising Reagan’s personal and emotional life, Byrne’s intellectual biography goes one step further; it establishes a rationale for the former president’s motives, discussing how thinkers such as Plato and Adam Smith influenced him. Byrne points to three historical forces that shaped Reagan’s political philosophy: Christian values, particularly the concept of a universal kingdom of God; America’s firm belief in freedom as the greatest political value and its aversion to strong centralized government; and the appeasement era of World War II, which stimulated Reagan’s aggressive and confrontational foreign policy. Byrne’s account of the fortieth president augments previous work on Reagan with a new model for understanding him. Byrne shows how Reagan took conservatism and the Republican Party in a new direction, departing from the traditional conservatism of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk. His desire to spread a “Kingdom of Freedom” both at home and abroad changed America’s political landscape forever and inspired a new conservatism that persists to this day.
An icon of the twentieth century, Ronald Reagan has earned a place among the most popular and successful U.S. presidents. In this compelling firsthand account of Reagan's presidency, Peter J. Wallison, former White House Counsel to President Reagan, asserts that Reagan took office with a fully developed public philosophy and strategy for governing that was unique among modern presidents. "I am not a great man," Reagan once said, "just committed to great ideas." Wallison shows how Reagan's unyielding attachment to certain key ideas -- communicated through his speeches -- created a cohesive administration and revived the spirit of the nation. Reagan limited his personal efforts to those issues he considered central to his presidency, choosing to delegate to his cabinet and staff those matters he viewed as secondary to his agenda. This leadership style was responsible for Reagan's accomplishments, but also for his missteps and the criticism he received from his detractors. During his presidency, Reagan experienced both enormous success -- in the unprecedented growth of the economy, the first arms reduction agreement with the former Soviet Union, and the revival of confidence in America -- and near disaster in the Iran-Contra affair. In Ronald Reagan , Wallison describes what it was like to be on Reagan's White House staff and how Reagan's attachment to principle produced both the best and worst days of his presidency.
The conservative icon who reshaped American politics and laid the groundwork for the end of the Cold War In the second half of the twentieth 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 fortieth 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.