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The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  17 reviews
“Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.”
–President Ronald Reagan, January 20, 1981

Hero. It was a word most Americans weren’t using much in 1980. As they waited on gas and unemployment lines, as their enemies abroad grew ever more aggressive, and as one after another their leaders failed them, Americans began to bel
Hardcover, 768 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Crown Forum (first published 2009)
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Charles Haywood
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the second volume of historian Steven Hayward’s voluminous biography of Ronald Reagan. As with any modern, widely documented life, “voluminous” does not mean “comprehensive”—there is no such thing, and Reagan in particular is the type of man who, when writing about, the biographer must select his facts and weave them into a coherent whole that takes the measure of the man. In this Hayward succeeds brilliantly, while simultaneously illuminating the America of the 1980s—for as I noted when ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it

Published in 2009, “The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution (1980-1989)” is the second book in a two-volume series authored by Steven Hayward. Currently a senior resident scholar at UC Berkeley, Hayward was previously a Fellow at Ashland University’s Ashbrook Center and a Ronald Reagan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University. He is the author of six books including “Greatness: Reagan, Churchill, and the Making of Extraordina
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The previous volume, The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, filled the gaps in my knowledge of the main political affairs of the 60's and 70's, from the technocracy of Johnson to the cynicism of Nixon and Ford to the equivocations of Carter, all presiding over a pseudo-cultural mass movement characterized by self-destructive radicalism. I think I've read at-least four accounts of the Great Society by now, but the pathetic management of Vietnam was something that needed better understanding. Otherwis ...more
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel to Hayward's book covering the years 1964-1980. It is, like the first book, excellent political history and a fun read. It picks up following Reagan's 1980 election and concludes with the 1988 presidential election, with an epilogue on the fall of eastern European communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union. Hayward writes from a conservative viewpoint, which leads him to be both laudatory and critical of Reagan and his administration depending on the context. Hayward draws ...more
Joe Keene
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a good read on Reagan's presidency. The author really portrays Reagan in a positive light and I too now see Reagan as more moderate than present day conservatives try to paint him. My one complaint is that the book seems to focus heavily to Reagan's foreign policy, which is to be expected with the Cold War and all, but I feel that there could have been more discussion on his domestic agenda. In all, a required read for anyone wanting to understand Reagan and the politics of America ...more
Chad Lamb
Great conservative-leaning analysis of Reagan's presidency. I wish Hayward would have stuck to a narrative throughout, but sometimes he drops the ball, for instance, cutting off Reagan's final address and departure from the White House. I loved the discussion on Oliver North's testimony during the Iran-Contra hearings. Honest criticisms on Reagan's achievements and failings, despite the clear bias toward the Great Communicator. Recommended. ...more
Nov 29, 2010 is currently reading it
Shelves: poli-book-club
Our house is in a new political/current events book club, and Noah picked this one as the first book. Sheesh. Noah chose it so that he can better understand the enemy. It is super long as a book club book, and I need to go ahead and get my own copy because reading along behind him is not going to work. The author is a Reagan fan.

But its pretty readable.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
A detailed and reliable narrative of the major events of the Reagan presidency - their characters, their outcomes, and their impacts. More notably a political biography than a personal one, it is a vivid array of detailed passages worthy for a curious reader's mind. It definitively ties in aspects of the decade to the larger narrative of American Political history that preceded and followed it. ...more
Bill Peacock
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bill by:
After having already finished Hayward's first book on Reagan (his pre-presidential years in politics), this second volume confirms that Hayward is so far the best biographer of Ronald Reagan. If you want to understand Reagan and his brand of conservatism--which along with William F. Buckley, Jr.'s were the cornerstones of of modern conservatism, you need to read these two books by Hayward. ...more
David R.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
A massive study (and the companion of a work covering the 1960s and 1970s) with noteworthy attention to the primary foreign policy arenas (Russia, Central America.) The work is arranged chronologically which sometimes gets in the way of the themes laid down by Hayward. Not as insightful about the president's thinking and character, but useful as a reference to the administration. ...more
Joel Manuel
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of Reagan's two terms in office. It has 650 pages of text, but flows rather quickly due to Hayward's writing style. It is admittedly pro-Republican in stance, but Hayward doesn't shy away from exposing Reagan's faults and failures. ...more
Jeff Hall
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book and I would highly recommend to everyone. The author is both critical and complimentary of Reagan and provides many interesting antidotes involving prominent figures of the decade to paint the entire canvas of the decade. Great read and I will pick up more from this author
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, politics
Really good chronicle of the Reagan Administration, I would think it would stand as the definitive treatment of the Reagan presidency for some time, at least from the conservative perspective.
Jonah Kunisch
May 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Most biased book I've ever read. Sad, considering the author passes it off as "history". ...more
Joseph Serwach
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive and all encompassing look at 1980-1989, a worthy successor to Part 1, which looked at 1964-1980. Probably the definitive books on Reagan.
Heather Vinson
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
A whopper of a 650 page propaganda machine for the Reagan years. Hayward goes into immense detail to recall what everyone in the room was saying, except for the opposition.
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