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Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader Paperback – February 23, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Touchstone ed edition (February 23, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684848236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684848235
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dinesh D'Souza rates America's 40th president as one of its greatest, right below Washington and Lincoln. He makes a forceful case for this rank, probably the best yet and perhaps the best possible. In the process, he analyzes Reagan's leadership style with remarkable clarity and subtlety. Reagan seemed ordinary in so many ways, still, millions of people believed in him and followed him. Moreover, he is the patron saint of the modern conservative movement--something that he did not create, yet nonetheless came to embody. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader is for readers already well-disposed toward the former California governor. It may not change minds, but it will deepen the appreciation felt by Reagan's many admirers, who seem to miss the leader more with each passing day. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A former domestic policy adviser in the Reagan administration and author of the controversial The End of Racism (Free Pr., 1995), D'Souza argues that Reagan was not merely a successful president but "a truly great president who belongs in the elite company of Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt." To make that claim credible, the author ignores the Iran-contra scandal, dismisses the massive budget deficits accumulated during the Reagan years, overlooks a series of missteps by the administration, and simply gets his story wrong (e.g., Reagan's role in the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos). Attempting to show that an ordinary man became an extraordinary leader, D'Souza fails to make a key distinction between "leader" and "president." Reagan was a successful leader who mobilized a conservative movement and reshaped the terms of debate in the United States. He was, however, a less successful president who made a series of mistakes and blunders largely ignored by the author of this disappointing book.?Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Dinesh D'Souza has had a 25-year career as a writer, scholar, and public intellectual. A former policy analyst in the Reagan White House, D'Souza also served as John M. Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He served as the president of The King's College in New York City from 2010 to 2012.

Called one of the "top young public-policy makers in the country" by Investor's Business Daily, D'Souza quickly became known as a major influencer on public policy through his writings. His first book, Illiberal Education (1991), publicized the phenomenon of political correctness in America's colleges and universities and became a New York Times bestseller for 15 weeks. It has been listed as one of the most influential books of the 1990s.

In 1995, D'Souza published The End of Racism, which became one of the most controversial books of the time and another national bestseller. His 1997 book, Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader, was the first book to make the case for Reagan's intellectual and political importance. D'Souza's The Virtue of Prosperity (2000) explored the social and moral implications of wealth.

In 2002, D'Souza published his New York Times bestseller What's So Great About America, which was critically acclaimed for its thoughtful patriotism. His 2003 book, Letters to a Young Conservative, has become a handbook for a new generation of young conservatives inspired by D'Souza's style and ideas. The Enemy at Home, published in 2006, stirred up a furious debate both on the left and the right. It became a national bestseller and was published in paperback in 2008, with a new afterword by the author responding to his critics.

Just as in his early years D'Souza was one of the nation's most articulate spokesmen for a reasoned and thoughtful conservatism, in recent years he has been an equally brilliant and forceful defender of Christianity. What's So Great About Christianity not only intelligently explained the core doctrines of the Christian faith, it also explained how the freedom and prosperity associated with Western Civilization rest upon the foundation of biblical Christianity. Life After Death: The Evidence shows why the atheist critique of immortality is irrational and draws the striking conclusion that it is reasonable to believe in life after death.

In 2010, D'Souza wrote The Roots of Obama's Rage (Regnery), which was described as the most influential political book of the year and proved to be yet another best seller.

In 2012, D'Souza published two books, Godforsaken and Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream, the latter climbing to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and inspiring a documentary on the same topic. The film, called "2016: Obama's America," has risen to the second-highest all-time political documentary, passing Michael Moore's Sicko and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. In addition, 2016 has risen to #4 on the bestselling list of all documentaries.

These endeavors--not to mention a razor-sharp wit and entertaining style--have allowed D'Souza to participate in highly-publicized debates about Christianity with some of the most famous atheists and skeptics of our time.

Born in Mumbai, India, D'Souza came to the U.S. as an exchange student and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1983.

D'Souza has been named one of America's most influential conservative thinkers by the New York Times Magazine. The World Affairs Council lists him as one of the nation's 500 leading authorities on international issues, and Newsweek cited him as one of the country's most prominent Asian-Americans.

D'Souza's articles have appeared in virtually every major magazine and newspaper, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, New Republic, and National Review. He has appeared on numerous television programs, including the The Today Show, Nightline, The News Hour on PBS, The O'Reilly Factor, Moneyline, Hannity, Bill Maher, NPR's All Things Considered, CNBC's Kudlow Report, Lou Dobbs Tonight, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#62 in Books > History
#62 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

I found the book to be an easy book to read.
J. Green
D'Souza presents the essence of Reagan's character of optimism, which continues to influence our great country.
Richard V. Battle
D'Souza does a fine job of detailing the successes of Ronald Reagan's presidency.
D. Downing

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Brett Williams on July 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
D'Souza does not hesitate to note flaws in Regan's character or mistakes made during his life, governorship or presidency. Even so, one sees a very different image of Reagan than what is popularized and by now accepted by default, without question, as facts of history. I was astonished at what I assumed to be true only because pundits and the media said so.
We are frequently told that Reagan was a doting "pawn" of other more intelligent powers. But D'Souza reminds us of 1976 when Reagan challenged the incumbent president - a bold move within either party. Having lost the first five states his campaign manager unilaterally established a withdrawal meeting with Ford. But Reagan, under tremendous pressure to pull out, even from his wife, refused, stating he would take his ideas all the way to the convention, even if he lost every state. Then he started to win and Ford narrowly escaped. In `82 Reagan was vilified with media prejudice (see Bernard Goldberg's "Bias") as Paul Volker (a Carter appointee) restricted the money supply, while Reagan himself signed the biggest tax cut in history. Keynesian's - advocates of centralized government intervention - shouted for Reagan's head. These actions would produce nothing they said, as tax cuts provided money to spend while shrinking the supply took it away. Who would not have changed course given the economic downturn from already depressed levels? Reagan defied pressure again with defense spending - accepting enormous deficits, as Democrats and Republicans were not willing to exchange their social programs (and associated votes) for his defense promise. Clear about financial and political costs, to Reagan, defeating the Soviets with technological strength vs. weakness was worth the price.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By J. Green VINE VOICE on December 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a White House insider during the Reagan Administration, D'Souza observed first-hand the management style of one of the most respected and unrespected presidents of the last half of the 20th century. Initially, he agreed with some of the criticisms, but later came to understand that Reagan simply had a different style than other presidents.

Criticized for being intellectually lazy or simple-minded, President Reagan was never a favorite of the intellectual crowd. His Hollywood past and appeals to higher morals didn't help. Accused of napping during cabinet meetings and using his acting skills to sway public opinion, some dismiss him and his accomplishments, giving the credit to others or dumb luck. In reality, D'Souza says he was very intelligent and could grasp a situation easily, but disliked dealing in the minutiae, preferring to delegate to others. He was steered by a strong moral compass, and believed strongly in the people and their ability to make correct decisions when given the facts. His accomplishments were many, including turning around the high-inflation economy of the 1970s (although he had to weather a couple tough years of recession) and bringing the Soviet Union to it's knees by refusing to appease them.

Having grown up in the 1980s, I remember the Reagan years as a time when pride was restored to Americans, when the threat of the Soviet Union seemed very real and imminent. The suggestion that the USSR would fall by the end of the decade would have been ridiculous. But Reagan recognized that it was a system that offered no incentives to its people to perform better, and once he pushed it by forcing them into an arms race, it's weaknesses were revealed.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on April 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
D'Souza's "Reagan" is one of those rare books which presents its subject in one light at its beginning, and then educates the reader to an entirely different view by its end.
The theme of "Reagan" is revealed in the subtitle "How an Ordinary Man Became An Extraordinary Leader." While utilizing biographical information, this is not a biography. It is the story of how Reagan's leadership confounded his critics and enabled Reagan, without brilliance or yeoman work effort, to become one of the most successful presidents in U.S. history.
Unlike some of his former aides who belittle Reagan, D'Souza provides a balanced assessment of Reagan's strengths and weaknesses. In the early part of the book , D'Souza illustrates Reagan's limitations thereby establishing his credentials as an ordinary man.
D'Souza explains Reagan's style of leadership, which basically involves establishing a general policy and then entrusting its execution to subordinates. D'Souza illustrates, by example, Reagan's leadership style through his handling of a series of crises with which he was confronted during his career. One by one, D'Souza takes us through the backgrounds of the tax cut, deployment of missiles in Europe, Bittberg, and many others. In this presentation of the Iran-Contra scandal Reagan is presented as thoroughly involved in the plan to trade arms for hostages, but unaware of the diversion of the proceeds to the Contras.
D'Souza does not explore exclusively Reagan's public leadership. He also focuses on Reagan's personal relationships as well. He portrays Reagan as one who, while publicly promoting family values, was unable to live them in his own family. Reagan, who was every American's friend, had few real friends of his own.
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