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Reagan’s 1968 Dress Rehearsal: Ike, RFK, and Reagan’s Emergence as a World Statesman

by Gene Kopelson,
Publisher: Figueroa Press, April 4, 2016
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Reagan’s 1968 Dress Rehearsal: Ike, RFK, and Reagan’s Emergence as a World Statesman

by Gene Kopelson,
Publisher: Figueroa Press, April 4, 2016

This ground-breaking book weaves an exciting, never-before-told story of Ronald Reagan’s first quest for the presidency in the late 1960s. Behind the scenes, Reagan’s private political mentor was Dwight Eisenhower and Reagan’s public political foe was Robert Kennedy.

Reagan scholar Kopelson’s analysis relies on newly uncovered audiotapes from candidate Reagan’s days as governor of California, the Eisenhower-Reagan correspondence and files, Ike’s post-presidential diary, and interviews with 35 grassroots Reagan activists from 1968.

Many of the major triumphs of Reagan’s subsequent tenure as president originated during that first campaign: Tearing down the Berlin Wall. Lessening nuclear weapons. The peaceful defeat of communism. Creating a missile defense shield for America. Bringing freedom to Eastern Europe. And dealing with hostage crises.

During 1968, Reagan emerged as a world statesman and shaped his crusade to restore pride in America. Kopelson further demonstrates why for Reagan, Ike’s tutelage was critical. This political mentorship changed America’s national priorities through the end of Reagan’s presidency, whose effects are still very much with us today.

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About Gene Kopelson

Gene Kopelson is president of the New England chapter, and on the Board of Trustees, of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, an active Churchillian, and a holocaust educator. As a historian, he has published works on Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, Ronald Reagan’s 1966 campaign and Mexican American voters, the 1968 Nebraska and Oregon Republican primaries, and Washington State Republican politics in the 1960s. The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial featured his research on Robert F. Kennedy as an inspiration to Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. His research on Reagan and Eisenhower was featured in 2015 at the 125thCommemoration of the Birth of Dwight Eisenhower at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Kopelson has organized and spoken at lectures about: the 2008 Centennial Celebration of the Seattle arrival of Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet; Theodore Roosevelt’s navy and the 21st Century, at the Naval War College; the Roosevelt-Rondon Expedition as well as the renovations of Sagamore Hill, at Harvard; holocaust righteous gentile and rescuer, Chiune Sugihara; the leader of the revolt at the Sobibor death camp, Toivi Blatt; and Jewish partisans. He and his wife Mindy educate about the resistance and update teacher-student book and video teaching trunks at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle.

When not researching and writing history, Dr. Gene Kopelson is a cancer physician. He has published over forty medical articles, contributed  chapters in medical textbooks, and lectured in the U.S. and abroad on radiation oncology. He graduated Princeton University with an A.B. Cum Laude in Biochemistry, obtained his M.D. at Columbia University, and completed his internship and residency at Harvard University’s Department of Radiation Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. For two decades he was the director of a cancer center affiliated with the Yale University School of Medicine and was a practice accreditor for the American College of Radiation Oncology.

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