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Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America
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Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  128 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
As late as Election Day, headlines across the country blared that the race was “too close to call.”

Even on the verge of his historic triumph in the 1980 presidential election, political observers continued to underestimate Ronald Wilson Reagan.

In Rendezvous with Destiny , the long-awaited follow-up to his widely praised account of Reagan’s insurgent 1976 presidential camp
Hardcover, 752 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (first published August 15th 2008)
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I am always surprised at how easy it is to think of the outcome of historical events as somehow foregone conclusions. Of course, the Allies won WWII. Of course, the Civil Rights movement succeeded. Of course, Abraham Lincoln held the Union together. Of course, a handful of colonists successfully threw off British rule. They happened, therefore they were inevitable.

Part of that is that we look back with clearer vision. But another part is that we determine what is significant from the outcome. Th
Apr 16, 2015 James rated it really liked it
I grew up enthralled with Theodore White’s Making of the President series. Shirley’s book does not measure up to White, but that has more to do with White’s mastery than with Shirley’s shortcomings. With White no longer with us, I’m glad Shirley has picked up the mantle—at least for Ronald Reagan’s campaigns.

This is a thoroughly researched book, with a 32% of the contents dedicated to notes, bibliography, and acknowledgments. Rendezvous with Destiny offers a blow by blow narrative of the 1980 pr
Daniel Alders
Jan 19, 2013 Daniel Alders rated it really liked it
Shirley takes on the incredibly challenging task of accurately summarizing the 1980 Presidential campaign between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and is tremendously successful. Beginning with the heated primaries on both sides, Shirley sheds light on the relationships of all the major challengers. For instance, I was pleased to learn much more than expected about George H.W. Bush and Ted Kennedy. Shirley doesn't shy away from the "mess"iness of the campaign life, taking the time to give thoroug ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Incredible campaign, An Incredible President!

Mr. Shirley takes you behind the scenes of the most important Presidential campaign in modern history. This book illustrates two fundamental truths, campaigns are messing and fraught with intrigue, incompetence, and perseverance; and Reagan did have a destiny.
Karen Carnahan
Jun 28, 2016 Karen Carnahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed Inside Storries

Some parts of this was a lot of names of those in the campaign but as I kept reading, a lot of interesting insight that I had not read before.
Tress Huntley
Oct 07, 2012 Tress Huntley rated it really liked it

I found this to be wildly encouraging up to the point that it wasn't. What an amazing human being Reagan was. His stamina and conviction were inspirational, and yet he was very clearly flawed, as are all of us. It's odd to read an account of a historical event and feel that clutch of suspense when you already know the outcome.

The epilogue made the sad but true point that Reagan's party has drifted far from the convictions of his era since he left office. I try not to be cynical about the curre
Apr 04, 2010 B rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-2010
I was initially skeptical of reading another Reagan book, but I knew I had to read this one after reading Craig Shirley's "Reagan's Revolution." This is a great account of Reagan's journey through the 1980 election. The bulk of the book is spent covering the tumultuous primaries (for the Republicans, Reagan vs. Bush; for the Democrats, the incumbent Carter vs. Teddy Kennedy). Lots of great anecdotes and reflections from insiders involved through the entire process. The most interesting chapter h ...more
Jane Cook
Apr 28, 2015 Jane Cook rated it it was amazing
Shirley does a great job detailing Ronald Reagan's campaign for president.
Alan Manis
Jun 13, 2016 Alan Manis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insider's look at the 1980 Reagan campaign.
Superfluous Man
Jul 13, 2012 Superfluous Man rated it liked it
Rendezvous with Destiny is a minutely researched history of the 1980 campaign. Well footnoted and drawn from exhaustive interviews and archival research, Mr. Shirley has produced the definitive account of the Reagan/Carter election. Inter alia, Mr. Shirley breaks down the canard that President Reagan was an essentially unknowable quantity. My full review is available here.
Kyle Oliphint
May 31, 2011 Kyle Oliphint rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This is an excellent book. Tons and tons of detail, which could bog me down sometime, but it was worth slogging through the detail. Shirley is an excellent author!
Jan 12, 2011 Keith rated it liked it
This book is very slow to develop. It is very detailed...but moves tooooo slow for me. I give up after 385 pages.
Kelly Lloyd
Jun 06, 2012 Kelly Lloyd rated it really liked it
Enjoying's just taking awhile to read. Intrigued with the parallels between 1980 and 2012!
Jan 13, 2010 Sarah marked it as to-read
Shelves: already-own
A Christmas gift from Luke
Tom Foreman
May 11, 2012 Tom Foreman rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, politics
I was there.
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