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Since Ronald Reagan left office--and particularly after his death--his shadow has loomed large over American politics: Republicans and many Democrats have waxed nostalgic, extolling the Republican tradition he embodied, the optimism he espoused, and his abilities as a communicator.This carefully calibrated image is complete fiction, argues award-winning journalist William Since Ronald Reagan left office--and particularly after his death--his shadow has loomed large over American politics: Republicans and many Democrats have waxed nostalgic, extolling the Republican tradition he embodied, the optimism he espoused, and his abilities as a communicator.This carefully calibrated image is complete fiction, argues award-winning journalist William Kleinknecht. The Reagan presidency was epoch shattering, but not--as his propagandists would have it--because it invigorated private enterprise or made America feel strong again. His real legacy was the dismantling of an eight-decade period of reform in which working people were given an unprecedented sway over our politics, our economy, and our culture. Reagan halted this almost overnight. In the tradition of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?, Kleinknecht explores middle America--starting with Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Illinois--and shows that as the Reagan legend grows, his true legacy continues to decimate middle America.


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Since Ronald Reagan left office--and particularly after his death--his shadow has loomed large over American politics: Republicans and many Democrats have waxed nostalgic, extolling the Republican tradition he embodied, the optimism he espoused, and his abilities as a communicator.This carefully calibrated image is complete fiction, argues award-winning journalist William Since Ronald Reagan left office--and particularly after his death--his shadow has loomed large over American politics: Republicans and many Democrats have waxed nostalgic, extolling the Republican tradition he embodied, the optimism he espoused, and his abilities as a communicator.This carefully calibrated image is complete fiction, argues award-winning journalist William Kleinknecht. The Reagan presidency was epoch shattering, but not--as his propagandists would have it--because it invigorated private enterprise or made America feel strong again. His real legacy was the dismantling of an eight-decade period of reform in which working people were given an unprecedented sway over our politics, our economy, and our culture. Reagan halted this almost overnight. In the tradition of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?, Kleinknecht explores middle America--starting with Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Illinois--and shows that as the Reagan legend grows, his true legacy continues to decimate middle America.

30 review for The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steve Horton

    I am trying to come to an understanding why Reagan is idolized by millions. I lived through the Reagan years as a callow college graduate, stumbling through the business world. As I recall, corporations were his only fans, as he shredded social nets, debased those who needed social services and decimated small farmers. I remember the Laffer curve, and trickle down economics, and arbitrage, and wondering if my modest salary had room for a family. It seems that all is forgiven, as I just read a po I am trying to come to an understanding why Reagan is idolized by millions. I lived through the Reagan years as a callow college graduate, stumbling through the business world. As I recall, corporations were his only fans, as he shredded social nets, debased those who needed social services and decimated small farmers. I remember the Laffer curve, and trickle down economics, and arbitrage, and wondering if my modest salary had room for a family. It seems that all is forgiven, as I just read a poll that had Reagan behind only Lincoln as our most revered president. I think he was a much better actor than we give him credit for.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kenny

    Kleinknecht attempts to dismantle the myth of the Reagan presidency in this angry work that for the most part succeeds, but overreaches in other areas. For the most part, he is successful in illustrating how destructive "Reaganomics" was to the middle class and working poor. He also shows how Reagan, and his handlers, crafted his phony image and sold it to blue collar "Reagan Democrats", while in reality they were fucking us in the ass. I agree w/ the author's premise that Ronald Reagan was one Kleinknecht attempts to dismantle the myth of the Reagan presidency in this angry work that for the most part succeeds, but overreaches in other areas. For the most part, he is successful in illustrating how destructive "Reaganomics" was to the middle class and working poor. He also shows how Reagan, and his handlers, crafted his phony image and sold it to blue collar "Reagan Democrats", while in reality they were fucking us in the ass. I agree w/ the author's premise that Ronald Reagan was one of the WORST presidents in U.S. history in terms of domestic affairs. Many of the economic problems we face stem from the culture of greed that he embraced more than any other American politician. The author shares my views and likewise let's his anger get in the way at times, which takes the level of sincerity for the book down a few notches. Nevertheless, it is time Americans realized what a charlatan Ronald Reagan actually was.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robby Hamlin

    The rating is only for my opinion of the man - the writing was really quite believable and highly researched, and should be especially valuable to younger readers who did not live through his era, and anyone with an open mind, and capable of looking objectively at the cyclical nature of market ups and downs; believing as I do that Reagan's legacy is the destruction of the middle class starting with busting workers' unions and further with 'trickle down' economics, e.g., just as pee trickles down The rating is only for my opinion of the man - the writing was really quite believable and highly researched, and should be especially valuable to younger readers who did not live through his era, and anyone with an open mind, and capable of looking objectively at the cyclical nature of market ups and downs; believing as I do that Reagan's legacy is the destruction of the middle class starting with busting workers' unions and further with 'trickle down' economics, e.g., just as pee trickles down the legs of the wealthy, the rest of us can lap it up to cool our tongues...btw, the stock market tanked as the negative effects of Nixon's impeachment and the economic and human costs our country endured over the war in Vietnam finally came home to roost under Carter; it had nowhere to go but up when Reagan came in...he should be remembered as a Hollywood actor who conned the USA, exactly what Trump is gambling on doing today...please don't believe this opportunist...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Maples

    A very focused book on how the destruction of the American middle-class took hold with the promotion and election(s)of Ronald Reagan. A corporate sellout from the time he hit Hollywood until his passing, Reagan's dishonesty and his championing of style over substance (or image over reality)is given a long-needed airing. Highly recommended. A very focused book on how the destruction of the American middle-class took hold with the promotion and election(s)of Ronald Reagan. A corporate sellout from the time he hit Hollywood until his passing, Reagan's dishonesty and his championing of style over substance (or image over reality)is given a long-needed airing. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Le

    Four stars, only because it wasn't as evenhanded as I would have liked. However, it is packed with information about Reagen's life, ideas, policies and the lasting destructive effects of his two terms in office. He packed his administration with corrupt ideologues who cared nothing for the true missions of their respective agencies- from HUD to EPA to SEC- which fulfilled his prophecy of government inefficiency and further reduced faith in public institutions. He convinced congress to cut fundin Four stars, only because it wasn't as evenhanded as I would have liked. However, it is packed with information about Reagen's life, ideas, policies and the lasting destructive effects of his two terms in office. He packed his administration with corrupt ideologues who cared nothing for the true missions of their respective agencies- from HUD to EPA to SEC- which fulfilled his prophecy of government inefficiency and further reduced faith in public institutions. He convinced congress to cut funding for everything except defense while dramatically increasing the national debt. Today's problems of overcrowded prisons, economic inequality, lack of public funding for education and job training, and lax enforcement of environmental and financial regulation were all perpetuated by his policies. It is not all Reagan's fault, as the book explains, but his legacy and "revolution" produced a culture where public goods are dwindling, government exists to serve business interests, and commercial values are drowning out community. I highly recommend it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    I loved this book. It was pretty transparent beat up on Reagan with very little discretion. To perhaps have more impact and further his anti-Reagan cause, the author could have made more of an effort to apppear even handed. In some ways this type of book is a disservice as it can be dismissed out of hand as red meat for liberals. I think books such as Tear Down this Myth and Sleepwalking Thru History are perhaps more "fair." Still the author presents compelling date and arguments for what a athe I loved this book. It was pretty transparent beat up on Reagan with very little discretion. To perhaps have more impact and further his anti-Reagan cause, the author could have made more of an effort to apppear even handed. In some ways this type of book is a disservice as it can be dismissed out of hand as red meat for liberals. I think books such as Tear Down this Myth and Sleepwalking Thru History are perhaps more "fair." Still the author presents compelling date and arguments for what a atheistic charlatan this hack was as a president and what revisionistic gymnastics are done by present day Republicans to channel him in the same breath with Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Meticulously researched, Kleinknecht's book answers those who would ask us to believe that Reagan's presidency is a high water mark for the Executive Branch. No, the book concludes, the roots of our current economic crises lie in Reagan's '80s and in the man who truly sold us a bill of goods. Meticulously researched, Kleinknecht's book answers those who would ask us to believe that Reagan's presidency is a high water mark for the Executive Branch. No, the book concludes, the roots of our current economic crises lie in Reagan's '80s and in the man who truly sold us a bill of goods.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dora

    Ronald Reagan changed our world so much; his administration is more responsible than anyone for everything we are suffering with today economically. Reagan was responsible for uniting the financial markets with the insurance companies; also eviscerating our regulatory agencies, rendering them stereotypes of hapless, corrupt government stereotypes. You can skim chapter 4 if you took any basic political econ class in college. I found this book difficult to read at times- mostly because the subject i Ronald Reagan changed our world so much; his administration is more responsible than anyone for everything we are suffering with today economically. Reagan was responsible for uniting the financial markets with the insurance companies; also eviscerating our regulatory agencies, rendering them stereotypes of hapless, corrupt government stereotypes. You can skim chapter 4 if you took any basic political econ class in college. I found this book difficult to read at times- mostly because the subject is so angering. Also, I wondered if it would really be convincing to someone who liked Reagan. Even though I agreed with the author, at times his language was hyperbolic and I could see that turning off someone who was politically ignorant or middle-of-the-road.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sean Bryan

    "And it is here that we find the most destructive element of the Reagan legacy: America's utter loss of national purpose. National purpose cannot exist when the anarchy of laissez-faire has created a war of all against all. By discrediting government as a legitimate and meaningful presence in the lives of Americans, Reagan repudiated the very concept of national leadership. By exhorting Americans to place self-interest above all, he undermined the spirit of sacrifice and the possibility of a com "And it is here that we find the most destructive element of the Reagan legacy: America's utter loss of national purpose. National purpose cannot exist when the anarchy of laissez-faire has created a war of all against all. By discrediting government as a legitimate and meaningful presence in the lives of Americans, Reagan repudiated the very concept of national leadership. By exhorting Americans to place self-interest above all, he undermined the spirit of sacrifice and the possibility of a common effort to solve our most pressing national problems."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    The author of this book is politically liberal, and has an obvious axe to grind. He blasts Reagan on every conceivable front, and it's important to remember that Bill Clinton and others had their own share of scandal and corruption. Nevertheless, the book is well researched, and in my opinion, the fundamental thesis is valid. Reagan led our nation down the path of anti-government deregulation that has taken us to our current state of cultural impoverishment and economic crisis. The author of this book is politically liberal, and has an obvious axe to grind. He blasts Reagan on every conceivable front, and it's important to remember that Bill Clinton and others had their own share of scandal and corruption. Nevertheless, the book is well researched, and in my opinion, the fundamental thesis is valid. Reagan led our nation down the path of anti-government deregulation that has taken us to our current state of cultural impoverishment and economic crisis.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Some hyperbole, but the point is made. The last chapter should be required reading

  12. 4 out of 5

    James Blatter

    Wish I could honestly force people to read this

  13. 5 out of 5

    John Allen

    Not a puffy read, this is practically a sealed economic and personal indictment of Ronald Reagan's economic policies, which were founded on the cynical, craven and false idea that "perception is reality". Ronald Reagan was the first really successful master of entirely deceitful PR on behalf of the wealthy, without a shred of sincerity about his public presentation matching up with his "trickle down" economic policies. In what became a public orgy of "America the Great", he managed to drown out e Not a puffy read, this is practically a sealed economic and personal indictment of Ronald Reagan's economic policies, which were founded on the cynical, craven and false idea that "perception is reality". Ronald Reagan was the first really successful master of entirely deceitful PR on behalf of the wealthy, without a shred of sincerity about his public presentation matching up with his "trickle down" economic policies. In what became a public orgy of "America the Great", he managed to drown out even those normally critical of the U.S. government's policies here and abroad. It has been said that the Soviet Union as it was in the 80's was basically a more honest presentation of how America presented with its homeless and "Welfare Queens" during Reagan's reign as President (often actor) in chief. He termed his favorite enemy as an "Evil Empire", all the while setting up and collapsing dictators in Central America and having figures like Oscar Romero (the Archbishop of El Salvador) deliberately stand in the line of his military death squad's fire, occasionally posing for the camera with an ironic smile and holding a sign which read: "For God's Sake End Liberation Theology!". Was Ronald Reagan the ultimate avant grade actor/villain? Unable to tell himself from his role and wreaking destruction on all of the poor everywhere under an assumed identity? Aware of a Union's power to create a community independent of force's ethos, he had them substantially weakened in power and sometimes simply destroyed. Massive budget cuts ended state funded institutions for the mentally ill. Shrewd, he was an advocate of the philosophy that the day only matters, and that those who have money should thoughtlessly enjoy it without any consequence. Community is no longer a reality, yet this is all they refer to in terms of values and principles. Like him or not, you could call Reagan the political prophet of our age, being coached through the Iran Contra meetings and even consciously aping the motions of a politician while seriously ill with Parkinsons disease. Now the consequences are in evidence very abundantly: the malls built in the 80's with all that wasted money are becoming insupportable and abandoned, and the traditional rewards for going to school and getting a job are growing sparse indeed. America looks increasingly like an abandoned town with people taking pictures of the souvenirs, largely as a result of this irreparable cultural severing. There would be no Donald Trump without Ronald Reagan, the first empty suit/emissary of free market decadence to hold office. Not a penny is unaccounted for in this book, and this is an impartial, stunning study.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    While I found Kleinknecht's book an interesting and at times eye opening view into the mind of one of the greatest criminals and liars in modern American politics, I did at times feel like I needed an economics degree to understand some of this book. While I understand sub prime mortgages and the corporate raiding and mergering of the late 80's and 90's, all of which stemmed from Reagan's horrific views on capitalism, I still felt like I needed a tutorial on some elements of economic treachery. While I found Kleinknecht's book an interesting and at times eye opening view into the mind of one of the greatest criminals and liars in modern American politics, I did at times feel like I needed an economics degree to understand some of this book. While I understand sub prime mortgages and the corporate raiding and mergering of the late 80's and 90's, all of which stemmed from Reagan's horrific views on capitalism, I still felt like I needed a tutorial on some elements of economic treachery. I'm fascinated by how many people hold this man in such high regard and to be honest, I'm a little more focused on social and military politics than economics. Still, this book clearly lays out the debate that Reagan was a corporate shrill for which all of us in the bottom 98% are gladly paying with our economic lives while gasbags like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh get down on their knees at the foot of Reagan and open their mouths to. . .you get the point. Unfortunately, no one else in this country did until it was too late.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Stolar

    I vacillated between giving this book 3 and 4 stars. I did really enjoy it and it was a very worthwhile read. The author was very heavy handed in his POV, which is why I settled on 3 stars. I don't generally read the very left or right wing political books that come out that just point out what idiots the other people are (even though I agree with most of the left-wing books of that ilk.) This is categorized as a biography, but it's really more of a sociological and political history of the Unit I vacillated between giving this book 3 and 4 stars. I did really enjoy it and it was a very worthwhile read. The author was very heavy handed in his POV, which is why I settled on 3 stars. I don't generally read the very left or right wing political books that come out that just point out what idiots the other people are (even though I agree with most of the left-wing books of that ilk.) This is categorized as a biography, but it's really more of a sociological and political history of the United states from the 1970s to the 2000s. It's definitely a worthwhile read to see how some of the elements of our current political society emerged and it gives some good background about how Democrats were complicit in some of the problems we face today, in allowing the Reagan agenda to take root and continue.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beverley

    Reagan chose heads of agencies that had been doing their best to destroy that very agency. “With his simple pledge to ‘get government off the backs of the American people’, Reagan set in motion a tidal wave of deregulation and privatization that has transformed the nation. A long list of calamities that have befallen deregulated industries—two stock market crashes, the California energy crisis, the Enron scandal, the savings-and-loan bailout, the Northeast blackout, the rash of bankruptcies in t Reagan chose heads of agencies that had been doing their best to destroy that very agency. “With his simple pledge to ‘get government off the backs of the American people’, Reagan set in motion a tidal wave of deregulation and privatization that has transformed the nation. A long list of calamities that have befallen deregulated industries—two stock market crashes, the California energy crisis, the Enron scandal, the savings-and-loan bailout, the Northeast blackout, the rash of bankruptcies in the airline industry, and the subprime mortgage crisis, just to name a few—all arose from Reagan’s misguided quest for free-market purism. “ “At the same time, Reagan’s tax cuts, trillion-dollar defense buildup, and sweeping budget cuts impoverished wide sectors of the government. His long-running diatribe against the inefficiency of government became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the years following his presidency, many government agencies were so denuded of resources that they became the caricatures of ineffectiveness that Reagan had drawn in so many of his stump speeches. The nation was left with an IRS that virtually stopped auditing tax returns, an EPA that turned a blind eye to polluters, a FTC that never took action against trade abuses, and a Federal Communications Commission that turned over the public airwaves to corporations.” “The urtext of the Reagan Revolution was Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”,k the 1776 book that virtually founded the classical school of economics. … The self-regulating market creates the most efficient allocation of goods and services. ..competition (is) the guarantor of stable prices and wages…It led to the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties” (where the uber rich held the vast amount of resources). [Dirtying this pretty picture is collusion in prices and wages. It also ignores how often government is an essential partner in innovation—think the Internet, the development of pharmaceuticals, the development of railways and the system of highways, to name but a few. ] [The depression and several recessions show the lie behind a self-regulating market. ] “John Maynard Keynes’s ‘The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money’, published in 1936, appeared propitiously at a time when the Great Depression was making a shambles of Smith’s theories. [Both Roosevelt and Obama proved that government intervention could turn around a failing economy. After WWII,] “independent regulatory commissions constituted a fourth branch of government. Entities like the Federal Communication Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Aviation Administration aimed at promoting fair competition and protecting the consumers’ interests in an increasingly complex economy.” “In 1979, Jimmy Carter’s appointment to the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, wrapped himself in the mantel of monetarism (a Conservative approach to economic matters), and set the central bank of a 6-year regimen of tight money that would break the back of inflation but inflicted (huge) damage on the economy—especially manufacturing and agriculture.” “Conservatives are fond of deriding this tradition of reform, but no serious student of American history could draw any other conclusion but that it vastly enlarged the middle class and rescued millions from lives of misery. At the turn of the century, men, women, and children labored 60 to 70 hours a week in squalid factories for pay that was often less than five odllars a week. Deaths from industrial accidents were commonplace. ..The exploitation of child labor was a national shame.” “Between 1970and 1974, Congress passed laws creating the EPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.” [Conservatives cried foul against regulation.] “…companies found they could blame regulation for all of their competitive failures. U.S. automakers blamed environmental regulations for their competitive woes, not higher-quality Japanese cars with better fuel efficiency. Steel companies blamed clean-air and clean-water restrictions, not their failure to invest in modern equipment that would help them compete with overseas steel producers. When Anaconda Copper Company closed its main factory in Montana in 1980, costing 1500 workers their jobs, executives blamed the cost of complying with environmental, health and workplace regulations. But others gave a different explanation: severe labor problems and decades of bad management that emphasized quick profits over investment in technology. “ [While Reagan smiled and talked the talk of returning to a better era], “He never mentioned selling national parks, ending nutrition programs for children, cutting development grants to struggling rural communities, gutting food stamps, or rolling back regulations key to the public’s well-being.” [The Reagan administration also ended all new construction of public housing.] “Washington was once a cordial place where politicians from rival parties respected each other’s views and socialized at the end of the workday. But the Reaganites brought a new breed into the capital, whose credo was to mock and enemy and win at all costs. It’s déjà vu with the current administration.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Didn't pull any punches when calling out those responsible for our current crisis. Deals mostly with deregulation and how it effected everyone, but moves into other areas of Reagan's Presidency as well; crime policies, war on drugs . . . Didn't pull any punches when calling out those responsible for our current crisis. Deals mostly with deregulation and how it effected everyone, but moves into other areas of Reagan's Presidency as well; crime policies, war on drugs . . .

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    An assessment of Reagan's economic and social legacy in light of the near-meltdown of the financial sector and the subsequent recession. While I agree with Kleinknecht's 9overall thesis, I think his tone distracts from the argument. Less strident anger, more hard logic. An assessment of Reagan's economic and social legacy in light of the near-meltdown of the financial sector and the subsequent recession. While I agree with Kleinknecht's 9overall thesis, I think his tone distracts from the argument. Less strident anger, more hard logic.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert S

    President Ronald Reagan and his administration wielded significant damage against many of the cornerstones of the New Deal and in doing so, made a lot of Americans significantly worse off. The Man Who Sold the World is a well-researched and well-written takedown of a man whose Presidency gets high praise in many circles but deserves none of it. If you've never read any books about the harmful legacy of President Reagan (such as Rick Perlstein's books) then this is a good place to start. President Ronald Reagan and his administration wielded significant damage against many of the cornerstones of the New Deal and in doing so, made a lot of Americans significantly worse off. The Man Who Sold the World is a well-researched and well-written takedown of a man whose Presidency gets high praise in many circles but deserves none of it. If you've never read any books about the harmful legacy of President Reagan (such as Rick Perlstein's books) then this is a good place to start.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Read in 2010?? good book. lib perspective. culture

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ed Wagemann

    I would have given The Man Who Sold the World five stars on its research and its presentation of the research, but I had to knock the rating down to 4 due to the author's tone, especially in the introduction, which seemed petty and nit-picky and even pointless at times. For instance, Kleinknecht seems outraged that the mainstream media's coverage of Reagan's funeral didn't bad-mouth Reagan enough. I mean come on, first of all its a funeral. If there is ever a time that the old adage "if you can' I would have given The Man Who Sold the World five stars on its research and its presentation of the research, but I had to knock the rating down to 4 due to the author's tone, especially in the introduction, which seemed petty and nit-picky and even pointless at times. For instance, Kleinknecht seems outraged that the mainstream media's coverage of Reagan's funeral didn't bad-mouth Reagan enough. I mean come on, first of all its a funeral. If there is ever a time that the old adage "if you can't say anything nice about someone then don't say anything at all" applies it is at a funeral. And second of all, its the fucking mainstream corporate media - what person with half a brain really gives a shit what the mainstream corporate media does/says? Kleinknecht is obviously an intelligent guy, so to be so petty and to give so much importance to the "toilet paper of documentation" that the mainstream corporate media is was a distraction that would have served the book better if it were left out. Also, such amped up faux-rage only goes to discredit the author. He seems less reliable because he comes off as hyper-Partisan - just another typical close-minded lock-step knee jerk hack who goes into his research with his conclusions already drawn without looking at all sides of the argument. As the book progresses Kleinknecht was somewhat more even-handed as he went over Reagan's biographical material and how Reagan came into his eventual Conservative ideology. Kleinknecht continued to give a left-leaning but fair account of the evolution of thought and influences on the American economy, dating back to the Progressive Era, continuing onto the New Deal Era and then up to LBJ's Great Society. As he continued explaining the back and forth of the pendulum of American thought in economic theory from the ideas of Adam Smith, to John Maynard Keynes to Milton Friedman, the scope of the narrative widened, allowing it to open up to the conditions of the 1970s that set the stage for the rise of Reaganomics. From that point on Kleinknecht meticulously laid out Reagan's disasterous policies of defunding government regulatory offices and in fact putting white-collar criminals in charge of such offices. One example Kleinknect details involved the Department of Health and Human Services 1982 proposal to put a warning label on aspirin after scientific evidence concluded that aspirin was causing Reye's syndrome in young children. The proposal was shot down by Reagan's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The results were that 1500 children died over the next five years. Finally in 1986 the OIRA flip-flopped its stance and warning labels were required. Reyes Syndrome in the US then dropped from 555 cases in 1986 to only 36 the following year. Kn points out that then 6 years time, Mark Fowler, Reagan's chairman of the Federal Communication Commission(FCC) had abolished 89 percent of the regulations governing broadcasting, even doing away with the fairness doctrine. He also points out the ramifications of Fowler “liberalizing the multiple-ownership rule” which essentially would come to allow a few large companies to control all the radio and tv waves. But again this became an area where Kn's Partisanship taints the narative. For instance in this far-reaching passages such as this from page 132: “[Becasue of Reagan] we find the beginning of a movement that would pick the pockets of American consumers, penalize rural communities, and reduce radio and television to commercial drivel.” As though radio and tv had such high standards prior to Reagan. In the next sentence Kn actually blames Reagan for the Telecommunications Act of 1996, an act that was passed under Clinton, almost 8 years after Reagan had left office.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I started this book fully believing that Reagan is one of the main reasons that our country is in such a mess - and has continued moving in the direction started by him most of my life. The book has some very strong chapters - the one on advertising for example. And the one on mergers. As a whole the book makes a strong case about how not only Reagan the man, but the movement has shaped US politics to the detriment of most people in this country. A weakness in the book is the early part where th I started this book fully believing that Reagan is one of the main reasons that our country is in such a mess - and has continued moving in the direction started by him most of my life. The book has some very strong chapters - the one on advertising for example. And the one on mergers. As a whole the book makes a strong case about how not only Reagan the man, but the movement has shaped US politics to the detriment of most people in this country. A weakness in the book is the early part where there is no section on California under the Reagan governorship. This seems like an important omission. It also has a sad feeling since it was written very soon after the election of Obama who did not turn out to be what he seemed in terms of moving the country away from neo-liberalism so it is sad to read the author’s hopeful last chapter. All in all, I recommend this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shadoshard

    Backed by extensive and comprehensive research, William Kleinknecht reveals the truth of the Regan presidential legacy as something less than a boon to the country and more a republican sacred cow. He deconstructs his policies and allies like they deconstructed watchdog agencies and the regulations required to keep the classes fair and balanced. Kleinknecht illustrates with painful accuracy how the citizenry of the United States bought into the irrelevancy of government and so lost the fair and Backed by extensive and comprehensive research, William Kleinknecht reveals the truth of the Regan presidential legacy as something less than a boon to the country and more a republican sacred cow. He deconstructs his policies and allies like they deconstructed watchdog agencies and the regulations required to keep the classes fair and balanced. Kleinknecht illustrates with painful accuracy how the citizenry of the United States bought into the irrelevancy of government and so lost the fair and balanced America that it became the victim to the dictates of robber barons.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John C.

    I feel like I would have liked this book more if the author's own perspective wasn't so abundantly clear. There were times when he avoided pretty obvious connections that would have undermined his point. I read this to try and get a better understanding of Reagan's economic policies, which I knew very little about going in, and there is some good insight here, but it felt incomplete coming from such a partisan perspective. I feel like I would have liked this book more if the author's own perspective wasn't so abundantly clear. There were times when he avoided pretty obvious connections that would have undermined his point. I read this to try and get a better understanding of Reagan's economic policies, which I knew very little about going in, and there is some good insight here, but it felt incomplete coming from such a partisan perspective.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Will Hambric

    Seeing the groundwork being laid for the disaster that is the modern GOP. Reagan wasn't only a bad President, he poisoned the well for everybody since. Hoover was bad, Grant was bad, Coolidge was bad, but they didn't have the lasting impact that Reagan had. Trump and Cruz are the direct result of Reagan's disastrous politics. Seeing the groundwork being laid for the disaster that is the modern GOP. Reagan wasn't only a bad President, he poisoned the well for everybody since. Hoover was bad, Grant was bad, Coolidge was bad, but they didn't have the lasting impact that Reagan had. Trump and Cruz are the direct result of Reagan's disastrous politics.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sdcinisbelievin

    Still reading - growing up in the 80s, I experienced Reagan's reign first hand but never fully appreciated or understood the scope of damage he and his policies caused. This book goes up against the 'Reagan As Great President' myth and backs up its arguments thoroughly. Still reading - growing up in the 80s, I experienced Reagan's reign first hand but never fully appreciated or understood the scope of damage he and his policies caused. This book goes up against the 'Reagan As Great President' myth and backs up its arguments thoroughly.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I seem to have left this at a restaurant. Perhaps I will buy another copy one day, but something tells me I probably won't. I seem to have left this at a restaurant. Perhaps I will buy another copy one day, but something tells me I probably won't.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jay Beaver

    Great book on the true legacy of Reagan. This is a book that will change your mind greatly if you are a fan or just indifferent about his presidency.

  29. 5 out of 5

    JMB

    A good biography of a personable idiot who did enormous damage to fabric of American life. He should have stuck to making B-movies.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Toftness

    gave up on it. way too biased for my taste! i just want the facts thankyouverymuch.

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