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Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Freedom

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0742520530
ISBN-10: 0742520536
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Editorial Reviews


Busch makes a powerful case, based on impeccable research, that Reagan was a statesman of high rank, with a coherent and intelligent vision of human liberty. His presidency successfully challenged the dominant liberalism of his time by returning to the Founders' constitutionalism, based on principles of rational liberty, equality of individual rights, and government by consent of the governed. (Thomas G. West)

Liberals dismiss and denigrate him and his presidency, conservatives lionize him and his record, but in such an ideologically charged atmosphere, on what basis can we evaluate the man and his record? In this well written book, Andrew Busch gives us an answer. Judging Reagan by the very standards he himself established for his presidency―did he contribute to the scope and vitality of human freedom in America?―is at once innovative and simple common sense. In applying just such standards to the Reagan legacy and the 1980s, Busch reminds us of Reagan's importance in the renewal of America's 'architecture of freedom.' (Gary Gregg, University of Louisville)

While journalistic and fanciful accounts of Ronald Reagan's presidency abound, Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Freedom is the only comprehensive study produced by an eminent political scientist. This thoughtful and thought-provoking work holds the Reagan presidency to the highest standards of statesmanship and finds it passing with honors, indeed high honors in foreign policy, the economy, constitutionalism, and national morale. Busch has caught some of Reagan's optimism, but his book is no hagiography; it is serious scholarship presented in clear prose. (Ken Masugi, Claremont Institute)

The re-writing of the Reagan years and the power of his legacy is now underway―and this book by Andrew Busch is a major contribution to that effort. (Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

For its intellingent and scrappy defense of Reagan's economic, social, and defense policies, Busch's volume wins a place on the short shelf of indispensable books about the Reagan years. (Claremont Review of Books)

Of all the books written praising or blaming Ronald Reagan, Andrew Busch's book is the best account of Ronald Reagan's understanding of his own statesmanship and the most comprehensive account of the architectonic character of that 'Statesmanship of Liberty'. (Mickey Craig, Hillsdale College)

The ordered liberty vantage point provides an interesting overview from which to see the Reagan presidency as well as its egalitarian and libertarian critics. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. (CHOICE)

Andrew E. Busch is the first scholar to assess Reagan's presidency by the goal he set for himself: enhancing American freedom. (Conservative Book Club)

About the Author

Andrew E. Busch is associate professor of political science at the University of Denver. He is also the co-author of The Perfect Tie: The True Story of the 2000 Election with James Ceaser.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (August 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742520536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742520530
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,990,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not a story of the Reagan presidency but rather the story of Reagan's though process and political beliefs. It covers everything from his constitutional beliefs, economic beliefs, domestic beliefs, and international relations. The book covers everything in exquisite detail which means that the book is probably designed for poli sci or intense historical political enthusiasts or students. The book is highly pro-Reagan but not necessarily pro Republican. The book, written in 2001, is critical of President George W Bush's steep tax cuts for instance. The book also states that the attacks made on New Deal legislation of the late 1990s also presented a deviation from the "Reagan Revolution." (Reagan wanted to get rid of the Great Society, not the New Deal. He had interest in deregulating those unnecessary regulations passed during the 1960s and 1970s hindering business. This fact is often left out on those looking for unreasonable political scapegoats for the financial crisis.) Overall the book is highly recommended, but tough!
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Format: Paperback
In this book, the author sets out to prove that Ronald Reagan's presidency had a salutary effect on social, political, and economic freedom in America; that his policies saved America's freedom from the threat of communist tyranny; and that he brought back to the political debate a discussion of the original intent of the founding fathers, a discourse which had long been missing from political dialog, i.e., the concept of limited government with the consent of the governed.

It seems that these would be simple things to prove, since they are self-evident to most of those who lived through the 1980s. The author, however, perhaps because he is a professor of political science, goes to great lengths to do so in an even handed way. He does this by not going straight to the heart of the matter, sticking to his objectives, and systematically driving home his points one after another as one might expect. Instead, he examines Reagan's presumed goals and the results of his efforts interspersed with the pros and cons of every issue as expressed by the various pundits of the time. This makes for informative but somewhat disjointed and often tedious reading.

From this mass of material, Mr. Busch then draws what seem to be rather narrow conclusions based on the weight of evidence. Then, in many instances, he goes still farther and second guesses his own conclusions (e.g. Did Reagan meet all of his objectives? Could he have done more? Was this really a change for the better? Would his policies have a lasting effect? Etc.). This has the effect of tempering and confusing his final suppositions. And by examining every facet of every issue, he simply tells us more than most of us really wanted to know.
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I liked the man before I read the book and I like, and admire, him even more now that I've finished it.
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