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The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order: 1964-1980

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  161 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The Age of Reagan brings to life the tumultuous decade and a half that preceded Ronald Reagan’s ascent to the White House. Drawing on scores of interviews and years of research, Steven F. Hayward takes us on an engrossing journey through the most politically divisive years the United States has had to endure since the decade before the Civil War.

Hayward captures an Americ
Paperback, 848 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Crown Forum (first published August 23rd 2001)
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Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read The Age of Reagan, the first volume of a massive two-volume biography, because I wanted to learn more about Ronald Reagan. I knew something about Reagan’s presidency, having been an adult for part of it, and that Reagan had been Governor of California, a popular speaker and commentator, head of the Screen Actors Guild, and an actor himself. But I knew very little about how Reagan came to be President. This book filled in many of the gaps. However, as the author, Steven Hayward, makes clea ...more
May 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are few books greater than 700 pages in length (almost 850 with footnotes, etc.) that are real page-turners. Steven Hayward’s 2001 The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order 1964-1980 is one of them. Age of Reagan is not entirely about Ronald Reagan. It is, instead, a political history–at the federal level–of the United States from 1964-1980. It is, as the subtitle says, about the fall of the “old liberal order” and the subsequent rise of Reagan. The story from Lyndon Johnson’s h ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While Heyward is a Conservative he lauds praises and criticisms with a fair hand. I was in my early teen years when Reagan was elected President but I still remember the sense of malaise practically all Americans felt throughout the 70's. Gas rationings, my parents complaining about incredibly high interest rates all the time (had no clue what that was at 14 but from their tone, i assumed interest rates were an evil thing, particularly high ones), and the hostages

Two things stand on my mind that
It took me six months to read this, but I finally finished. It was actually very readable, for such a non-political person like me, but I think it would also be very satisfying for someone more conversant in politics. It has a definite conservative slant, which helped me understand Reagan-lovers a little bit more. There's a Part Two which covers his actual Presidency, which will likely take me another six months to read. At least then I'll have the two books, and can get some good bicep curls in ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the longest nonfiction book in which I have read every word: 717 pages. It is also the most thorough treatment I have ever seen of developments in the United States from 1964-80, and how those developments persuaded the American public to give conservative ideas a chance in the form of Ronald Reagan. The book ends with the 1980 election, so later this month I will start on the second volume of Hayward's book that covers Reagan's actual presidency.
Bill Peacock
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bill by:
Shelves: history, te
I love this book. It is absolutely the best book describing impact Reagan had on building the conservative movement in the U.S., and is much, much better than the authorized biography. This is the first volume which covers the pre-presidential years. I haven't read volume 2 yet, but i am sure it is equally insightful.
Cephas Martin
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great narrative on the historical events that led to the election of Ronald Reagan. This is the era in which I grew up. It gave a different insight to the events that shaped our country during a turbulent period.
Definitely history written through a conservative lens (with excellent use of Pat Moynihan as the liberal intellectual foil), but a good treatment of Reagan and the US political and social landscape from 1964 up through Reagan's first election.

I'll definitely pick up volume II of this series.
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish the powers that be in this day and age could take some lessons from the Reagan years. Not so fun doing business with the current administration and I doubt seriously we are going to see improvement. Give me a Reagan leader and I will show you prosperity.
Nov 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing and illuminating narrative. Liberal myths and misapprehensions are exploded on virtually every page. The first section of the book confirmed my undying detestation of the Sixties; the latter my disgust with Jimmy Carter.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Other commenters hit this on the head. It's more a political history of conservatism during the period than just a Reagan history. Very easy to read. I loved this book.
Sep 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid history of the American conservative movement starting in the 1960's.
Geert Matthys
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing, fluid writing, biased as can be off-course. this is an ode to reagan if you believe in such worship, for those who don't, still quite likeable book
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