REVOLUTION by Martin Anderson


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From his perch as President Reagan's assistant for policy development, with responsibility for domestic and economic policy, Anderson attempts to chronicle the inner dynamics of the current administration. Unfortunately, however, his is a peripatetic, long-winded account. One moment Anderson is describing Reagan's method of public speaking (including a discreet tactic that involves scanning index cards with one eye, while the other sweeps his audience); the next he is discussing Nixon's pre-election personnel planning for his new administration; and the next he is touting Reagan's economic successes (the longest period of economic growth--57 successive months--since such statistics were first kept, in 1854). If there is a tie that binds Anderson's leapfrogging thoughts, it is his belief that Reagan represents the vanguard of a new capitalism, vibrant and universal. Comparing the disasters of Mitterand's socialist experiments in France with the burgeoning US economy, Anderson shows how nation after nation has given up on centralized economic solutions--even mainland China, which has opened up free economic zones. Echoing Nixon's forthcoming 1999 (p. 435), he suggests that although Gorbachev is liberalizing Soviet economics, Russia's refusal to give up its Marxist underpinnings has left it isolated, with not one major nation as an ally. Beyond all this, Anderson's major purpose seems to be to rehabilitate Reagan's reputation as a thinker (he reminds us, for instance, that the President's degree was in economics, a subject over which he still commands a strong grasp of the basics). More self-congratulatory than revelatory, but thoughtful as well and intriguing for its insider's point of view.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1988
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich