- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 28, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393076385
- ISBN-13: 978-0393076387
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Right Star Rising: A New Politics, 1974-1980 Hardcover – June 28, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
The 1970s emerge as a time of drift and chaos that nonetheless fundamentally realigned America, in this cogent, though not quite groundbreaking, study of the Ford and Carter presidencies. UC-Santa Barbara historian Kalman (The Strange Career of Legal Liberalism) thoroughly surveys the cultural, economic, and geostrategic shocks Americans endured in the'70s: the rise of feminism and the gay rights movement; racial controversies over affirmative action and forced busing; defeat in Vietnam and anxieties about declining American power; deindustrialization, unemployment, soaring inflation, and oil shortages. As Democrats and moderate Republicans floundered, Kalman contends, a New Right comprising neoconservative hawks, evangelicals, supply-siders, tax rebels, and conservative populists capitalized on these crises to mount a compelling attack on the liberal consensus. To Kalman, these developments are epitomized by the perpetually vacillating Gerald Ford and, especially, Jimmy Carter (who she paints as a devious, yet unprincipled and ineffectual figure) whose weak leadership paved the way for the triumph of Ronald Reagan's forceful conservatism. 8 pages of photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Liberal historians, among whom Kalman counts herself, continue to puzzle over the election of Ronald Reagan. Sean Wilentz in The Age of Reagan (2008) argues Reagan's election was the American electorate's repudiation of liberal overreach, but Kalman holds that voters rejected Jimmy Carter, not liberalism. Still, she has to explain how conservatives rose to power, and in this superdetailed account of the late 1970s, Kalman interprets their success as capitalizing on opportunities such as opposition to compulsory school integration, affirmative action, the ERA, and détente with the USSR. Right-wing personalities such as Phyllis Schlafly and Jerry Falwell occupy swathes of Kalman's chronicle, as does the Right's capture of the Republican Party. But it is within Carter's presidency that Kalman searches most deeply for clues to the advent of Reagan. In recounting Carter's alienation of Democratic Party constituencies, his perceived weakness in foreign affairs, and his inability to stifle stagflation, Kalman finds her evidence that a personality rather than an exhausted liberalism better explains 1980. On top of the facts and making her case, Kalman earns the political-history audience. --Gilbert Taylor
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Well researched and highly recommended for anyone wondering why Reagan not only came to power, but why the conservative movement became so powerful in American politics.