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Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980 Hardcover – March 21, 2017
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“…an engrossing, richly detailed saga filled with political figures obscure and familiar. Both political junkies and general readers should appreciate this account of the triumph of a conservative icon.” (Booklist)
“There are few historians, if any, better qualified to write on Ronald Reagan than Craig Shirley. His previous works on the life and times of Ronald Reagan have already established him as the nexus of insight into our 40th President. Reagan Rising is proof positive of this claim, especially to the many who still hunger for new, authentic and rarely seen moments of important Reagan history. Mr. Shirley has taken on a tough subject in examining a remarkable and complicated man. Every reader will benefit from the care Mr. Shirley has taken to get it just right.” (John Heubusch, executive director, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation)
“I never read a Craig Shirley book about Reagan without learning something about my old boss, This is an insightful, thoughtful history that reminds us of the renewal that occurred the last time the Republican Party was near collapse. It is the story of the lifeguard Reagan rescuing a drowning party. If only...” (Landon Parvin, former White House speechwriter for Ronald Reagan)
“Whoever seeks to know the heart of Ronald Reagan will find it in Reagan Rising, as Craig Shirley once again records our 40th President with extraordinary wamth, depth and perspective. A “must add” to any Reagan fan’s library.” (Ken Khachigian, Ronald Reagan's Senior Presidential Campaign Aide and Chief White House Speechwriter)
“A compelling and insightful look at one of the most significant periods in modern American history. Candidate Reagan’s political defeats shaped President Reagan’s views on Washington, the Republican Party and American politics. Craig Shirley brings new insights and captivating stories that led to Reagan’s political rise. If you want to understand Ronald Reagan, the man & the politician, this is a must-read.” (Steve Scully, host of Washington Journal, C-SPAN)
“Ronald Reagan defined a political party for a generation. He defined an ideology, shaped in his view of what true liberty, individualism, and American conservatism really meant. Craig Shirley’s Reagan Rising is the go-to book on how this came to be.” (The Honorable Georgette Mosbacher, Commissioner of the United States Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy, US State Department)
“This book is serious history that reads like a page-turner novel. Craig Shirley’s prose, while carefully annotated, is as compelling as fireside stories told by an eye witness. The details and insights in this book provide must-know context for American politics past, present and in the future.” (Mari Maseng Will, former Reagan White House speechwriter.)
“Craig Shirley’s newest book, Reagan Rising, reveals the real Reagan -- the ideas that shaped the man and his presidency. With Trump in the White House, this is the most important book you must read.” (Chris Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax Media)
“Craig Shirley has written a supremely important addition to the world of Reagan biographies, a field in which he is already a star scholar.” (Jeff Lord, Former Reagan White House Political Aide, CNN commentator, Columnist, The American Spectator.)
“Craig Shirley is a master chronicler of President Reagan’s public and political life. In Reagan Rising, we are not only given the fascinating story of how Ronald Reagan faced into the wind after losing in ‘76, we are also provided an inspiring lesson about how life’s apparent defeats can be turned into triumphs.” (Jamel Santa Cruze Wright, Ph.D., President, Eureka College)
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Top Customer Reviews
Reagan started his road back to the presidency in 1977 by speaking and doing radio commentary. That year saw Jimmy Carter take office, and the new president was having trouble enacting substantive legislation due to ideological and temperamental differences between him and members of his own party in Congress (sound familiar?). 1977 and the beginning of 1978 also saw extensive debate over the Panama Canal treaties, and Shirley describes Reagan's role in that fight.
Shirley uses vivid anecdotes to describe the extent to which malaise had set in during the late Seventies--weakness abroad, gas lines, stagflation in the economy, narrowed horizons, and a disintegrating culture plagued the United States, and the country had already lost confidence in Carter relatively early in his term. In response, Reagan helped take the GOP in a stronger, more optimistic direction by promoting a muscular anti-communist stance to arrest our decline abroad and tax cuts to stimulate the economy at home.
The last section of the book is devoted to the Republican nomination battle of 1979 and 1980, in which Reagan captured the prize he had long sought by outlasting some formidable rivals. Shirley's remembrances here highlight Reagan's tenacity, confidence, decisiveness, and sense of humor, traits that would serve him well when it was time to govern after his election. There are a few errors here and there in the book, but those who have read and enjoyed Shirley's Reagan's Revolution and Rendezvous with Destiny would find "Reagan Rising" well worth reading.
I believe this book about Reagan is an important read for anyone, regardless of political ideology, due to its focus on rebranding the Republican Party. Well researched and insightful. I highly recommend it!