By most accounts, the year 1964 was a disastrous one for conservatives. After a series of liberal legislative victories, Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater by the biggest margin since FDR’s 1936 landslide, and the Democratic Party gained its biggest majorities since the glory days of the New Deal. Yet this seemingly decisive shift in public opinion was illusory — and the triumphant liberals would soon overplay their hand. Meanwhile, the conservative movement was quietly gaining strength, aligning itself behind an inspiring new leader who, only sixteen years later, would bring it to national dominance.
Now, in “The Age of Reagan,” the first of two volumes, Steven Hayward brings to life the tumultuous decade and a half from Ronald Reagan’s dazzling political debut in a nationwide speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater to his landslide victory over Jimmy Carter. Based on scores of interviews and years of research, the book is an engrossing journey through the most politically divisive years the United States has had to endure since the decade before the Civil War. With meticulous detail — and a narrative momentum that never flags — Hayward captures America at war with itself, and an era that changed the world. He brings new insight into:
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