In this Book

Princeton University Press
summary

Did America's fortieth president lead a conservative counterrevolution that left liberalism gasping for air? The answer, for both his admirers and his detractors, is often "yes." In Morning in America, Gil Troy argues that the Great Communicator was also the Great Conciliator. His pioneering and lively reassessment of Ronald Reagan's legacy takes us through the 1980s in ten year-by-year chapters, integrating the story of the Reagan presidency with stories of the decade's cultural icons and watershed moments-from personalities to popular television shows.

One such watershed moment was the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. With the trauma of Vietnam fading, the triumph of America's 1983 invasion of tiny Grenada still fresh, and a reviving economy, Americans geared up for a festival of international harmony that-spurred on by an entertainment-focused news media, corporate sponsors, and the President himself-became a celebration of the good old U.S.A. At the Games' opening, Reagan presided over a thousand-voice choir, a 750-member marching band, and a 90,000-strong teary-eyed audience singing "America the Beautiful!" while waving thousands of flags.

Reagan emerges more as happy warrior than angry ideologue, as a big-picture man better at setting America's mood than implementing his program. With a vigorous Democratic opposition, Reagan's own affability, and other limiting factors, the eighties were less counterrevolutionary than many believe. Many sixties' innovations went mainstream, from civil rights to feminism. Reagan fostered a political culture centered on individualism and consumption-finding common ground between the right and the left.

Written with verve, Morning in America is both a major new look at one of America's most influential modern-day presidents and the definitive story of a decade that continues to shape our times.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Introduction: Ronald Reagan’s Defining Vision for the 1980s—and America
  2. pp. 1-23
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  1. 1980 Cleveland: “There You Go Again!” Defeating Defeatism—and Jimmy Carter
  2. pp. 24-49
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  1. 1981 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: The Ronald Reagan Show, the New Dynasty, and David Stockman’s Reaganomics
  2. pp. 50-83
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  1. 1982 Hill Street: The Other America’s Blues
  2. pp. 84-114
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  1. 1983 Beaufort, South Carolina: The Big Chill and the Great Reconciliation: Where the Sixties Meet the Eighties
  2. pp. 115-154
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  1. 1984 Los Angeles: The Wizard of America’s Id Chooses Patriotism over Politics
  2. pp. 155-182
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  1. 1985 Brooklyn, New York: Bill Cosby’s Multicultural America Meets Ronald Reagan’s Celebrity Presidency
  2. pp. 183-211
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  1. 1986 Wall Street: The Wild, Wild East and the Reagan Money Culture
  2. pp. 212-242
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  1. 1987 Mourning in America Fiascos at Home and Abroad
  2. pp. 243-272
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  1. 1988 Stanford: The Culture Wars: Closing and Opening the American Mind
  2. pp. 273-312
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  1. 1989 Kennebunkport, Maine: The Bush Restoration: Kinder, Gentler, but Still Reaganite
  2. pp. 313-340
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  1. 1990 Boston: First Night, New Decade: Why So Blue?
  2. pp. 341-364
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  1. A Note on Method and Sources
  2. pp. 365-372
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  1. A Guide to Abbreviations in Notes
  2. pp. 373-374
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 375-408
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 409-412
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 413-436
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