The coauthor of The Book of America (1983) weighs the Reagan years via a guidebook audit of the nation's seven regional economies. Region-by-region, Hagstrom sketches a sobering portrait of the state of the union on the eve of post-Reagan America. The Reagan revolution, ""almost totally limited"" to the economy, has proven a boom-or-bust phenomenon at the regional level: ""Too large a geographical chunk of the country has suffered for Reagan's policies to be considered a success."" Indeed, the president's ""ghostlike"" presence in many regions underscores Hagstrom's thesis that the story of the 80's is the ""saga"" of states and regions, rather than the president's policies. Hagstrom contrasts the defense-borne prosperity of California with the Third World commodity culture of the Plains States, and the ""power axis"" battening of the Mid-Atlantic States with the ""tarnished heartland"" of the Great Lakes states. Delineating the issues, political principles, and events that shaped these dichotomous fortunes, the author concludes that ""disturbing questions--both national and regional--remain about America's basic future."" Savvy and incisive, this volume comes as a compelling departure from standard campaign-year fare.