Some see the 1980s as a Golden Age, a Morning in America when Ronald Reagan revived America's economy, reoriented American politics, and restored Americans' faith in their country and in themselves. Others see the 1980s as a new Gilded Age, an era that was selfish, superficial, glitzy, greedy, divisive, and destructive. This multifaceted exploration of the 1980s brings together a variety of voices from different political persuasions, generations, and vantage points. The volume features work by Reagan critics and Reagan fans (including one of President Reagan's closest aides, Ed Meese), by historians who think the 1980s were a disastrous time, those who think it was a glorious time, and those who see both the blessings and the curses of the decade. Their essays examine everything from multiculturalism, Southern conservatism, and Reaganomics, to music culture, religion, crime, AIDS, and the city. A complex, thoughtful account of a watershed in our recent history, this volume will engage anyone interested in this pivotal decade.
Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and the author of Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents and Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s, among other titles. Vincent J. Cannato is Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and the author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island and The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and his Struggle to Save New York.