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RONALD REAGAN: HOW AN ORDINARY MAN BECAME AN EXTRAORDINARY LEADER Paperback – Bargain Price, February 23, 1999
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well above my expectations. RR was an excellent President, no doubt.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Here is a great book on Reagan. Puts the others to shame, especially the shabby and shallow treatment found in Bill O'Reilley's "Killing Reagan". Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dane S. Thomas
One of the best books written about the best president in my generation.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer