The Politics of Symbolism by Robert Dallek

4 April 2015
Critical review of liberal author’s biography of conservative president Ronald Reagan.

Reaganism, wites Dallek in the preface of this book (p. vii), is not merely an aberration that will disappear with the end of the Reagan presidency, it is an important force in the nation’s life that cries out for explanation. In combination with the subtitle of the book, this line states both the overall objective of the work and the author’s perspective on its subject.
Dallek is not concerned simply with writing a political biography of the former president, who was running for re-election at the time of the book’s publication, but with examining and explicating what he views as an extraordinary disconnect between reality and popular perception in the Reagan…
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