THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE by Rick Perlstein
Kirkus Star

THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE

The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

KIRKUS REVIEW

How Ronald Reagan lost the presidency and won the heart of America.

Building on his first two books—Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2001) and Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (2008)—Perlstein once again delivers a terrific hybrid biography of a Republican leader and the culture he shaped. Where Perlstein's Nixon was the cynic in chief who exploited resentment and frustration to get elected, his Reagan is the star of his own pseudo-reality show, who “framed even the most traumatic events in his life—even his father’s funeral—as always working out gloriously in the end, evidence that the universe was just.” Although the book only goes up to Reagan's loss of the 1976 Republican nomination to President Gerald Ford, the scope of the work never feels limited. Perlstein examines the skeletons in the Reagan, Ford and Carter closets, finds remarkable overlooked details and perfectly captures the dead-heat drama of the Republican convention. Just as deftly, he taps into the consciousness of bicentennial America. He sees this world with fresh eyes; for Perlstein, 1970s America wasn’t the "Me Decade"—a phrase he never uses—so much as the Fear Decade, when a paranoid country was beside itself with worry over CIA revelations, killer bees, abortion, losing the Panama Canal and the grim possibility that you could lose your children (whether Linda Blair or Patty Hearst) to the dark side. Always at the center of the narrative is Reagan, the self-appointed hero who assured a jittery populace that Vietnam and Watergate were just bad dreams. He was America’s cheerleader, the slick beast slouching toward Washington, waiting to be born again.

A compelling, astute chronicle of the politics and culture of late-20th-century America.

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4767-8241-6
Page count: 800pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2014




BEST BOOKS OF 2014 FOR INFORMED AMERICANS:

NonfictionSOLDIER GIRLS by Helen Thorpe
by Helen Thorpe
NonfictionCAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY by Thomas Piketty
by Thomas Piketty
NonfictionTHE DIVIDE by Matt Taibbi
by Matt Taibbi

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for SAINT ANYTHING
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE ISLE OF THE LOST
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for THE WORST CLASS TRIP EVER
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for A GOD IN RUINS
VERDICT:
BUY IT

MORE BY RICK PERLSTEIN

NonfictionNIXONLAND by Rick Perlstein
by Rick Perlstein
NonfictionNIXONLAND by Rick Perlstein
by Rick Perlstein
NonfictionBEFORE THE STORM by Rick Perlstein
by Rick Perlstein

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionTHE QUIET MAN by John H. Sununu
by John H. Sununu
NonfictionPRESIDENT REAGAN by Lou Cannon
by Lou Cannon
NonfictionGERALD R. FORD by James Cannon
by James Cannon
NonfictionPRESIDENT REAGAN by Richard Reeves
by Richard Reeves