Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Introduction: Ronald Reagan’s Defining Vision for the 1980s—and America

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pp. 1-23

...when he approached them. Recalling the “miracle” of corrected vision, he would write: “I suddenly saw a glorious, sharply outlined world jump into focus and shouted with delight.” Six decades later, as president of the United States of America, that extremely nearsighted boy had become a contact lens–wearing...

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1980 Cleveland: “There You Go Again!” Defeating Defeatism—and Jimmy Carter

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pp. 24-49

...easy twelve months, with the crown prince of Camelot, Senator Edward Kennedy, challenging Carter for the Democratic Party nomination, the Iranians kidnapping American diplomats, the Russians invading Afghanistan, the military failing to free the hostages, and special prosecutors investigating brother Billy’s lobbying...

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1981 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: The Ronald Reagan Show, the New Dynasty, and David Stockman’s Reaganomics

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pp. 50-83

...values coexisted with his role as an avatar of American consumption, a maestro of materialism. While Reagan did not possess as big a stock portfolio as the moguls toasting his debut, he enjoyed another prized American asset—celebrity. Like his predecessor...

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1982 Hill Street: The Other America’s Blues

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pp. 84-114

...but lovable redneck; Lucy Bates and Joe Coffey, the lonely but competent female cop coupled with the handsome, irrepressible ex-jock. Within minutes, plot lines would be forming, dialogue would be flying, camera angles jumping. The Sarge would dismiss the officers, then remind them, after silencing...

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1983 Beaufort, South Carolina: The Big Chill and the Great Reconciliation: Where the Sixties Meet the Eighties

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pp. 115-154

...People reuniting with old friends from high school, college, or camp speak of having a “Big Chill weekend.” Surprisingly, “Big Chill” did not originally mean a chance to “chill together,” or hang out. Lawrence Kasdan titled his movie after the big chill that ran down his spine when a colleague said something...

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1984 Los Angeles: The Wizard of America’s Id Chooses Patriotism over Politics

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pp. 155-182

...remembered—which it was; if blacks and women and intellectuals felt so marginalized—which they did; if the economy wavered and the poll ratings sagged, how did Reagan win reelection by a landslide? How did this president, who would be described within three years by some of his own aides as doddering, out of touch, ineffectual...

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1985 Brooklyn, New York: Bill Cosby’s Multicultural America Meets Ronald Reagan’s Celebrity Presidency

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pp. 183-211

...Rights Act, blacks were integrating neighborhoods and attending formerly lily-white elite schools. They worked as doctors, lawyers, and executives in previously closed professions, as well as cops, firemen, and electricians in once closed unions. And two decades after Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 immigration reforms shelved the...

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1986 Wall Street: The Wild, Wild East and the Reagan Money Culture

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pp. 212-242

...Americans’ inner capitalist, Reagan echoed America’s traditional ambivalence about excess. He often affirmed “the great civilized truths—values of family, work, neighborhood, and religion.” Alas, with the president, as with the nation, consumerism’s seductive force overran the rhetorical obeisance to morality or a...

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1987 Mourning in America Fiascos at Home and Abroad

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pp. 243-272

...adopted nation. On April 19, 1985, Ronald Reagan awarded the Romanian-born novelist Elie Wiesel the Congressional Gold Medal of Achievement. The president thanked the writer for helping “to make the memory of the Holocaust eternal by preserving the story of the six million Jews in his work,” and “for a life...

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1988 Stanford: The Culture Wars: Closing and Opening the American Mind

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pp. 273-312

...Jesse Jackson, relishing the media attention, the students from Stanford University, California’s most exclusive school, rejected “Eurocentric, white male” culture. “We’re tired of reading books by dead white guys,” one editorial snapped. Here was one of the 1980s’ strangest legacies. Amid Reagan’s all-American revival, an articulate...

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1989 Kennebunkport, Maine: The Bush Restoration: Kinder, Gentler, but Still Reaganite

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pp. 313-340

...bathrobe, her signature pearls nowhere in sight. The two sat propped up in their king-sized bed in a sun-drenched, oversized bedroom with a majestic view of Maine’s craggy coast. Ignoring the paisley drapes and the built-in bookshelves, six young grandchildren scurried about, transforming the scene from one of imperial...

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1990 Boston: First Night, New Decade: Why So Blue?

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pp. 341-364

...tooters, crammed into a room festooned with streamers. Rather than watching their own clocks, or speaking to each other, as the magic hour approached, they would turn on the television set. At once, all eyes focused on the electron-filled box. Only after Guy Lombardo or Johnny Carson counted down and yelled...

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A Note on Method and Sources

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pp. 365-372

...praise Reagan blindly, while too many others simply bash him. Even a benign attempt to tell the saga of Nancy and Ronald Reagan as a great American love story for the November 2003 television sweeps ended up caught in this ideological crossfire, with conservatives encouraged by Nancy Reagan crying foul and...

A Guide to Abbreviations in Notes

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pp. 373-374

Notes

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pp. 375-408

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 409-412

...Schweitzer, Adam Goodman, Alex Cowan, and Brett Hooton—tracked down most of the secondary sources and newspaper and magazine articles used in this book and helped me shape my thinking on the subject in many ways. Dozens of students in the undergraduate and graduate honors seminar I have taught on Ronald Reagan for the last several years also contributed with their insight...

Index

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pp. 413-436