Tear down this myth: how the Reagan legacy has distorted our politics and haunts our future

Book Cover
Average Rating
Free Press,
Pub. Date:
In this provocative new book, award-winning political journalist Will Bunch unravels the story of how a right-wing cabal hijacked the mixed legacy of Ronald Reagan, a personally popular but hugely divisive 1980s president, and turned him into a bronze icon to revive their fading ideology. They succeeded to the point where all the GOP candidates for president in 2008 scurried to claim his mantle, no matter how preposterous the fit.

With clear eyes and an ever-present wit, Bunch reveals the truth about the Ronald Reagan legacy, including the following:

  • Despite the idolatry of the last fifteen years, Reagan's average popularity as president was only, well, average, lower than that of a half-dozen modern presidents. More important, while he was in office, a majority of Americans opposed most of his policies and by 1988 felt strongly that the nation was on the wrong track. Reagan's 1981 tax cut, weighted heavily toward the rich, did not cause the economic recovery of the 1980s. It was fueled instead by dropping oil prices, the normal business cycle, and the tight fiscal policies of the chairman of the Federal Reserve appointed by Jimmy Carter. Reagan's tax cut did, however, help usher in the deregulated modern era of CEO and Wall Street greed.
  • Most historians agree that Reagan's waste-ridden military buildup didn't actually "win the Cold War." And Reagan mythmakers ignore his real contributions -- his willingness to talk to his Soviet adversaries, his genuine desire to eliminate nuclear weapons, and the surprising role of a "liberal" Hollywood-produced TV movie.
  • George H. W. Bush's and Bill Clinton's rolling back of Reaganomics during the 1990s spurred a decade of peace and prosperity as well as the reactionary campaign to pump up the myth of Ronald Reagan and restore right-wing hegemony over Washington. This effort has led to war, bankrupt energy policies, and coming generations of debt.
  • With masterful insight, Bunch exposes this dangerous effort to reshape America's future by rewriting its past. As the Obama administration charts its course, he argues, it should do so unencumbered by the dead weight of misplaced and unearned reverence.

    More Details
    Also in This Series
    More Like This
    Reviews from GoodReads
    Loading GoodReads Reviews.
    Staff View

    Grouping Information

    Grouped Work IDacfeb701-4b9d-fdf8-c2e7-bfb8569789c0
    Grouping Titletear down this myth how the reagan legacy has distorted our politics and haunts our future
    Grouping Authorbunch william
    Grouping Categorybook
    Last Grouping Update2019-12-13 17:33:31PM
    Last Indexed2020-01-28 04:45:03AM

    Solr Details

    authorBunch, William.
    author_displayBunch, William
    collection_arlingtonAdult Nonfiction
    detailed_location_arlingtonCentral Adult Nonfiction
    display_descriptionBunch rolls back some of the worst distortions concerning the Reagan myth--that Reagan was one of the most popular modern presidents; that his tax cut caused the bull market of the 1980s; and that he won the Cold War--and examines the Gipper's conservatist legacy as it continues to impact America's political and economic situation.
    Bib IdItem IdShelf LocCall NumFormatFormat CategoryNum CopiesIs Order ItemIs eContenteContent SourceeContent FileeContent URLsubformatDetailed StatusLast CheckinLocationSub-location
    ils:.b13013336.i13839044Central Adult Nonfiction973.927 BUNCH1falsefalseMissingOct 26, 2019can
    literary_formNon Fiction
    literary_form_fullNon Fiction
    local_callnumber_arlington973.927 BUNCH
    owning_library_arlingtonArlington Public Library
    Aurora Hills
    Columbia Pike
    Connection Crystal City
    Detention Center
    Local History
    Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
    ils:.b13013336BookBooksEnglishFree Press, 2009.276 pages ; 24
    Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
    ils:.b13013336.i13839044Currently UnavailableMissingfalsefalsetruefalsefalsetrue9999
    subject_facetUnited States -- Politics and government -- 1981-1989
    United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-
    title_displayTear down this myth : how the Reagan legacy has distorted our politics and haunts our future
    title_fullTear down this myth : how the Reagan legacy has distorted our politics and haunts our future / Will Bunch
    title_shortTear down this myth
    title_subhow the Reagan legacy has distorted our politics and haunts our future