Ronald Reagan is arguably the most successful post-war American president. A transformational leader, he is broadly credited with renewing American prosperity after the stagflation-hit 1970s, laying the foundations for Cold War victory and bringing about the shift to the right in late-twentieth century politics. In this new biography, Iwan Morgan shrewdly assesses Reagan's considerable achievements whilst also highlighting the shortcomings that were an indisputable part of his record. Based on extensive research, this book plots a chrological path through Reagan's life covering his upbringing; his rise and fall as a Hollywood star; his time as California goverr; and his pursuit of the presidency. Morgan offers a detailed evaluation of the pragmatic conservatism that was the hallmark of Reagan's presidential leadership in domestic affairs. In the international sphere, he explains Reagan's metamorphosis from Cold War hawk to negotiator for nuclear-arms reduction, while also examining his role in the Iran-Contra scandal. This book ultimately shows that what made Reagan an American icon above all else was his optimism regarding his country and his ability to articulate its best values - even if he himself did t always live up to these. Today, as the Republican Party grapples with its new direction and identity, understanding the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Reaganism is more relevant than ever.
Iwan Morgan is Professor of US Studies and Head of US Programmes at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. He was awarded the British Association of American Studies Honorary Fellowship in 2014 in recognition of his contributions to the discipline over the course of his career. His publications include The Age of Deficits: Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush; Nixon and Beyond the Liberal Consensus: A Political History of the United States since 1965.