Win one for the Gipper

Continuing with the second volume, Hayward performs a critical analysis of Reagan's two terms and, unlike the worshipful polemics written about Clinton and no doubt Obama, Hayward again pulls no punches in pointing out the highs and lows of the Reagan years, including Iran-contra, Lebanon and other missteps of his Administration, even covering the 1987 stock market crash.

The book continues the "destiny" theme from the first volume.  The 1980 campaign was not a sure thing until the final debate, when Reagan hammered Carter with wit and deft to show voters he was not too old to assume the Presidency.  The early fights over tax cuts, the defense buildup and even Reagan's near-assassination show just how much a near-run thing his victories over a constantly back-biting Congress were.

This book does continue Hayward's penchant for detail, detail and moooore detail, particularly over the arcane point of economic and social theory.  It does take some work to get through and I will admit, I might have skipped a few pages.  The narrative on foreign policy was really excellent, especially Reagan's clear and concise thinking about defeating Communism by any means needed and regardless of the ninny-nannying of the Europeans and the left wing loonys. (yes I wrote ninny-nannying)  Our current leader could take some lessons about getting a backbone against the Islamist threat we face today.

These are weighty tomes, but well worth reading if you want to get a sense of Reagan within his times and how he literally saved America, the freedom of Western Europe and created the modern conservative movement.  I doubt they will be on Nancy Pelosi's Amazon Wish list, so all the better.