During the Reagan years, Americans witnessed an extraordinary array of changes, from major technological advances to sweeping revisions of the tax code to the deregulation of major industries and the advent of the culture wars. America emerged from the decade completely transformed: political and social arrangements derived from post-World War II liberalism had given way to the highly competitive, fast-changing, technology-driven society we know today.
In The Eighties, John Ehrman tracks this transformation in the context of Ronald Reagan’s policies and convictions and examines the broader trends that enabled Reagan to achieve so much of his agenda. At a time when most Americans remained fairly centrist in their political commitments, Reagan was able to shift policy toward the right by building support for a few key policies. His gradualist approach met with little opposition from Democrats, who failed to mount a coherent response. Based on a broad range of primary source material, The Eighties offers an accessible and balanced account of a watershed decade in American history.
John Ehrman is a foreign affairs analyst for the federal government. He was formerly a lecturer in history at George Washington University and writes on modern American conservative politics. His previous book, The Rise of Neoconservatism, was published by Yale University Press.