The Politics of Symbolism, with a New Preface
By Robert Dallek
(Harvard University Press, Paperback, 9780674779419, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 1999
Few American politicians have enjoyed greater popularity than Ronald Reagan. Humor, charm, good looks, an intuitive feel for national concerns, and an extraordinary ability to speak persuasively to millions of people were major assets. But his fundamental appeal went deeper: a blend of Catholic and Protestant, small-town boy and famous entertainer, Horatio Alger and P. T. Barnum, traditional moralist and media celebrity, Reagan spoke for old values in current accents.
Robert Dallek presents a sharply drawn, richly detailed portrait of the man and his politics--from his childhood years through the California governorship to the first years of the presidency. It is an essential guide for all observers of the presidential election of 2000, and a starting point for anyone wanting to discover what the Reagan experience really meant.