THE REBELLION OF RONALD REAGAN by James Mann
Kirkus Star

THE REBELLION OF RONALD REAGAN

A History of the End of the Cold War
BUY NOW FROM

KIRKUS REVIEW

How Ronald Reagan confounded critics and baffled even his supporters to help end the Cold War.

Admirers of the 40th president credit his “evil empire” rhetoric and his military build-up for backing the Soviet Union into an inescapable corner; critics describe him as a merely passive observer who happened to hold office while the Soviet system imploded. Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Mann (The China Fantasy, 2007, etc.) focuses on what was uniquely Reagan about the ending of the Cold War, a task complicated by the president’s opacity, even to those who knew him best. The author masterfully traces the nearly parallel career of Richard Nixon, the only cold warrior whose anticommunist credentials rivaled Reagan’s and who cemented a balance of power relationship with the Soviet Union, continued under Ford and Carter. On the campaign trail, Reagan roundly criticized detente. Viewing the Cold War as a struggle of ideas and economic systems, he sought not merely to accommodate the Soviet system but to change it. During his second term, abetted by the unlikely Suzanne Massie, an author who tutored him on the Russian “soul,” Reagan understood that Gorbachev was a new kind of Russian leader, one who understood the degree to which the communist system had ossified. Through diplomatic channels both formal and informal, and with a seemingly unerring sense of when to apply pressure and when to ease up, Reagan matched Gorbachev move for move, as both leaders deflected relentless criticism from hardliners within their own countries. Mann enlivens his account with telling anecdotes—Gorbachev’s impatience with Reagan’s incessant joking, Reagan’s erroneous suspicion that Gorbachev might secretly believe in God—and with a brilliant exposition of the tug of war within the administration over Reagan’s famous Berlin Wall speech.

An incisive illustration of the often underrated role a leader’s personality plays in shaping world events.

Pub Date: March 9th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-670-02054-6
Page count: 482pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2008




REPUBLICAN READS:

Nonfiction THE SECRET KNOWLEDGE by David Mamet
by David Mamet
Nonfiction THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS by Robert D. Novak
by Robert D. Novak
Nonfiction THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE by Chris Mooney
by Chris Mooney
Nonfiction THE REPUBLICAN WAR AGAINST WOMEN by Tanya Melich
by Tanya Melich

MORE BY JAMES MANN

NonfictionTHE OBAMIANS by James Mann
by James Mann
NonfictionRISE OF THE VULCANS by James Mann
by James Mann
NonfictionABOUT FACE by James Mann
by James Mann

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionGEORGE F. KENNAN by John Lewis Gaddis
by John Lewis Gaddis
NonfictionREAGAN AND THATCHER by Richard Aldous
by Richard Aldous
NonfictionREAGAN'S JOURNEY by Margot Morrell
by Margot Morrell