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The Clothes Have No Emperor: A Chronicle of the American '80s
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The Clothes Have No Emperor: A Chronicle of the American '80s

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  142 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A political humorist's caustically hilarious month-by-month archive of the 1980s includes memorable photographs, newspaper headlines, press clippings, pop quizzes, outrageous quotes, bizarre facts, and implausible yet true events.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 1st 1989 by Simon & Schuster
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Apr 01, 2011 Justin rated it it was amazing
This book thoroughly answers the question: Were the Reagan years really as awful as many people believe? The answer, it turns out, is no. They were far, far worse.

Published in 1989 (and therefore without intervening years to romanticize and deify our most inept president) this book is a scathing indictment of not only Reagan but also the media that largely allowed him to emerge unscathed. Teflon, indeed. When things really start to unravel in 1987 (remember Ed Meese? or, oh yes, the Iran-Contra
Nov 22, 2015 Ezra rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books, I re-read it often. It's a day-by-day compilation of all the stupid things that happened during the reagan administration. It's set in the context of relevant pop-culture though I think it's missing references to most political movements of the era (AIDS, Central America, Anti-Nuke). Still, it's brilliant and deeply enjoyable.
Leonard Pierce
Nov 16, 2008 Leonard Pierce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
Simply one of the greatest pieces of political humor of all time. Slansky -- in the pre-internet era! -- simply provides a daily catalog of the absurdities and outrages of the Reagan Era. Recommended to everyone, but especially those too young to remember how awful it was when modern Republican non-governance began.
Dec 16, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
THE essential chronicle of the Reagan presidency. No other historical text comes close to capturing the bankrupt political philosophy, corruption, strange popular culture, and ruinous policy of the 80s and the conservative rise to power that began with Reagan and has ended so disastrously with Bush II.

As a bonus, the book is riotously funny, and makes most of its points with sly comments and direct quotes. A cynic's necessity, if everyone had read this book before 2000, we might have been spare
Jan 16, 2009 Eli rated it it was amazing
One of the finer chronicles of the Reagan era, filled with the cultural context that makes the 80s seem so much more absurd than I remember (then again, I was 11 when the 80s ended, so what do I know?). Helps to support the theory that Ronnie was just an empty-headed puppet, with a lot of evil right-wing bastards pulling the strings. I could read this a billion times and never get sick of its dry humor.
Mar 13, 2011 Bex rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
This made me feel better and worse at the same time. The 80s were as depressing a political time as any other so that made me feel better about the world (and reinforced my distaste for Reagan). Then the depressing idea that nothing really changes settled in. I think it's time for some lighthearted fiction.
Feb 27, 2011 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who isn't too caught up in the myth of Reagan
The Clothes Have No Emperor is an incredibly biased book, and that should be very obvious. But its wry, understated humor, along with the sheer WTFery of some of its items, makes it a great read for anyone who doesn't buy the St. Ronnie Ray-gun nonsense.
Thomas Hale
Aug 23, 2015 Thomas Hale rated it really liked it
A blow-by-blow (and sometimes even day-by-day history of the Reagan presidency, serving as a catalogue of the bizarre mediatised waking nightmare of the 80s in American politics. The daily format gives Slansky room for plenty of juxtaposition, narrative threads and continuity, and makes it a pretty zippy read (I finished it over the weekend). There's plenty of decent snark to temper the sense of staggering frustration and dread that comes from having almost every major event of the Reagan admini ...more
Feb 24, 2011 Laurie rated it really liked it
This is basically how I imagine VH1's "I Love the 80s" would look if Stewart and Colbert produced it. Definitely a skewed view in favor of my personal politics, but still a big help in rectifying my sad lack of knowledge about my birth decade. I am even more retroactively outraged about Reagan and his constant veneration now makes me want to throw things even harder. If he ever gets put on money I will never use cash to buy anything ever again. He deserves nothing; James Baker et al maybe deserv ...more
Matt Lohr
Mar 21, 2016 Matt Lohr rated it really liked it
Reading Paul Slansky's "The Clothes Have No Emperor" nearly thirty years after its publication is a bittersweet, almost tragic experience. The book is a virtually day-by-day breakdown of the Reagan era, and its outrage at things like (gasp!) the president being insensitive about the plight of poor people or (swoon!) the times he appeared slightly less than presidential on the world stage seem almost immensely quaint in light of what has followed in the years since. One gets the impression that S ...more
Oct 28, 2007 Aimee rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: persons interested in 80's history
Paul Slansky scribed a humorous and irreverent look at the 1980's, by weaving the politics of the day with human interest stories, (inter)national news items, and pop culture tidbits, as they occurred (almost) daily. Clearly, Slansky has little love for Reagan or the right-wing, but Reagan gave his critics plenty of ammo for use against him.
Mar 21, 2008 Roland rated it liked it
A great day-by-day account of the Reagan years. I didn't know what to expect when I checked it out from my library, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Feb 09, 2011 RJ rated it really liked it
Helped me remember why I was in a state of perpetual fear & frustration from ages 5-14.
Rob Bryant
Feb 06, 2013 Rob Bryant rated it did not like it
I am the type of person that likes to know, and understand, points of view other than my own when it comes to politics. Being a fan of Ronald Reagan, I decided to search Google for the "best anti-Reagan books". Listed among them on one site was this book by Paul Slansky, The Clothes Have No Emperor. I found out on that site that it was out of print, but worth reading. I hit eBay, found a cheap copy (the only one on there at the time), and grabbed it.

What a mistake that was. There are so many thi
Sep 08, 2015 Dixie rated it it was amazing
Ideal for anyone who wants to get a feel for what was really going on politically and socially in the 1980s U.S. Funny, horrifying, and educational. Should be required reading, so that history never repeats itself.
Morgan Dreiss
Mar 30, 2016 Morgan Dreiss rated it it was amazing
Wow, I'm really glad the Reagans are dead and can't hurt anyone anymore.
Kobe Bryant
Mar 01, 2016 Kobe Bryant rated it it was amazing
This is definitely one of the best books ever written
Feb 25, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Definitely worth reading, especially during this election year. The book is broken down by year and each year contains wonderfully brief but informative diary-style entries about the wackiness that was the Reagan administration. All of the stuff that really happened but Republicans ignore at all costs. My favorite part was a quote from Donald Trump when asked how to improve Manhattan in 1985. Trump wanted to ban all street food vendors.
Rich Uncle Pennybags
Mar 20, 2016 Rich Uncle Pennybags rated it really liked it
The biggest takeaway from this book is that, in a lot of ways, Donald Trump is the heir to the Reagan legacy.
Troy Beals
Aug 07, 2011 Troy Beals rated it really liked it
Funny look at the 80's. Obviously doesn't like or appreciate Ronald Reagan so that is a big downside.
as far as political books go, i'll peruse this one at my leisure.
Toesnorth's mom
Dec 09, 2012 Toesnorth's mom added it
Shelves: mom-s
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