Reagan Rising (Hardcover)
The Decisive Years, 1976-1980
Broadside Books, 9780062456557, 432pp.
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
With a Foreword by Jon Meacham
New York Times bestselling biographer Craig Shirley charts Ronald Reagan’s astonishing rise from the ashes of his lost 1976 presidential bid to overwhelming victory in 1980. American conservatism—and the nation itself—would never be the same.
In 1976, when Ronald Reagan lost his second bid for the GOP presidential nomination (the first was in 1968), most observers believed his political career was over. Yet one year later, at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Reagan sounded like a new man. He introduced conservatives to a "New Republican Party"—one that looked beyond the traditional country club and corporate boardroom base to embrace "the man and woman in the factories . . . the farmer . . . the cop on the beat. Our party," Reagan said, "must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group."
Reagan’s movement quickly spread, championed by emerging conservative leaders and influential think tanks. Meanwhile, for the first time in modern history, Reagan also began drawing young people to American conservatism.
But it was not only the former governor's political philosophy that was changing. A new man was emerging as well: The angry anticommunist was evolving into a more reflective, thoughtful, hopeful, and more spiritual leader. Championing the individual at home, rejecting containment and détente abroad, and advocating for the defeat of Soviet communism, his appeal crossed party lines.
At a time when conservatives are seeking to redefine their identity in light of the Donald Trump phenomenon, Reagan Rising offers insight into the development of Reagan’s optimistic and unifying philosophy, and offers lessons for both established Republican leaders as well as emerging hopefuls.
About the Author
Craig Shirley is the author of Reagan Rising, Rendezvous with Destiny, Reagan’s Revolution, Last Act and the New York Times bestseller December 1941. He is a regular commentator throughout the media and a contributor to national publications, and was hailed by the London Telegraph as “the best of the Reagan biographers.” He is the Visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Reagan’s alma mater, and lectures often at the Reagan Library and the Reagan Ranch. He and his wife, Zorine, divide their time between Ben Lomond, a three-hundred-year-old Georgian manor house in Essex County, Virginia, and Trickle Down Point on the Rappahannock River in Lancaster, Virginia. They are the parents of four children, Matthew, Andrew, Taylor, and Mitchell.
JON MEACHAM received the Pulitzer Prize for his 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson, American Lion. He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George H.W. Bush, American Gospel, and Franklin and Winston. Meacham, who teaches at Vanderbilt University, is a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He lives in Nashville with his wife and children.
Praise For Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980…
— Ken Khachigian, Ronald Reagan's Senior Presidential Campaign Aide and Chief White House Speechwriter
“Craig Shirley’s newest book, Reagan Rising, reveals the real Reagan -- the ideas that shaped the man and his presidency. With Trump in the White House, this is the most important book you must read.”
— Chris Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax Media
“Craig Shirley has written a supremely important addition to the world of Reagan biographies, a field in which he is already a star scholar.”
— Jeff Lord, Former Reagan White House Political Aide, CNN commentator, Columnist, The American Spectator.
“…an engrossing, richly detailed saga filled with political figures obscure and familiar. Both political junkies and general readers should appreciate this account of the triumph of a conservative icon.”
“I never read a Craig Shirley book about Reagan without learning something about my old boss, This is an insightful, thoughtful history that reminds us of the renewal that occurred the last time the Republican Party was near collapse. It is the story of the lifeguard Reagan rescuing a drowning party. If only...”
— Landon Parvin, former White House speechwriter for Ronald Reagan
“Ronald Reagan defined a political party for a generation. He defined an ideology, shaped in his view of what true liberty, individualism, and American conservatism really meant. Craig Shirley’s Reagan Rising is the go-to book on how this came to be.”
— The Honorable Georgette Mosbacher, Commissioner of the United States Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy, US State Department
“This book is serious history that reads like a page-turner novel. Craig Shirley’s prose, while carefully annotated, is as compelling as fireside stories told by an eye witness. The details and insights in this book provide must-know context for American politics past, present and in the future.”
— Mari Maseng Will, former Reagan White House speechwriter.