From Publishers Weekly
Hayward offers his examination, from an unabashedly conservative perspective, of American history from 1964 through the 1980 inauguration of Ronald Reagan as president, in the first part of a two-volume account. Senior fellow at the conservative Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, he argues that liberalism reached its peak in 1964, and that the hollowness of liberal thought, played out in the flawed presidencies of Nixon, Ford and Carter, creating a political atmosphere that allowed Reagan to preside over a fundamental change in the direction of American government. In Hayward's Manichean universe, opposite the rightness of Reagan's conservatism is the wrongness of all things liberal. Labeled with the "l word," among many others, are the war on poverty, feminism, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, dtente, New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, the movie Dr. Strangelove and the "chattering class" of intellectuals. Hayward forwards many provocative opinions, among them that the Vietnam War was a success, delaying the fall of Saigon long enough to convince Communists that Southeast Asia could not be easily won; Hayward also believes that Watergate was an ideological dispute over whether the executive branch or Congress would have supremacy. The author assembles a wide variety of facts; unfortunately, he often includes them indiscriminately and tediously, as in his minute-by-minute description of the 1976 presidential primary. In the end, this is an ultraconservative polemic masquerading as history.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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“Reads at times like a grand historical drama . . . complete with romance and adventure and tragic characters; a thrilling survey of what we might have thought to be familiar history but which appears here quite transformed.”
—Times Literary Supplement
“Excellent . . . [Hayward] acknowledges Mr. Reagan’s sunny personality and ease in public, but he dismisses these as significant factors in his election. What mattered was Mr. Reagan’s unflinching conservatism and strong character, coupled with liberalism’s failures.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Grand and fascinating history . . . goes far toward making the definitive historical case for Reagan’s greatness.”