The Invisible Bridge

The Invisible Bridge

The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

Book - 2014
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Ronald Reagan never got the message. Which was why, when he announced his intention to challenge President Ford for the 1976 Republican nomination, those same pundits dismissed him—until, amazingly, it started to look like he just might win. He was inventing the new conservative political culture we know now, in which a vision of patriotism rooted in a sense of American limits was derailed in America’s Bicentennial year by the rise of the smiling politician from Hollywood. Against a backdrop of melodramas from the Arab oil embargo to Patty Hearst to the near-bankruptcy of America’s greatest city, The Invisible Bridge asks the question: what does it mean to believe in America? To wave a flag—or to reject the glibness of the flag wavers? In January of 1973 Richard Nixon announced the end of the Vietnam War and prepared for a triumphant second term—until televised Watergate hearings revealed his White House as little better than a mafia den. The next president declared upon Nixon’s resignation our long national nightmare is overbut then congressional investigators exposed the CIA for assassinating foreign leaders. The collapse of the South Vietnamese government rendered moot the sacrifice of some 58,000 American lives. The economy was in tatters. And as Americans began thinking about their nation in a new way—as one more nation among nations, no more providential than any other—the pundits declared that from now on successful politicians would be the ones who honored this chastened new national mood. From the bestselling author of Nixonland: a dazzling portrait of America on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the tumultuous political and economic times of the 1970s.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2014
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover editiion
ISBN: 9781476782416
1476782415
Branch Call Number: 973.924 NIXON PERLS
Characteristics: xx, 856 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Notes: Includes index

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lukasevansherman
Apr 01, 2017

"The national mood is poisonous and dangerous and this is one symptom--striking out at helpless refugees whose number is infinitesimal."-Harvard sociologist David Riseman, writing about Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s
Simply put, this is one of the best books I've ever read about politics. It's incredibly well-researched and detailed (Without being boring.), fiercely intelligent, illuminating, and provocative. It forms a sort of trilogy of the modern conservative movement with Rick Perlstein's earlier books, "Before the Storm" (about Barry Goldwater) and "Nixonland." In all of these books, he locates many of the political and social fractures we still experience. "The Invisible Bridge" may be his masterpiece, as it tells a compelling counter-narrative to the mainstream views of Reagan and his ilk. What distinguishes Perstlein and his "Baffler" gang (including the great Thomas Frank) is that they critique both parties, are sardonic, and make history and politics vital and relevant. As the subtitle indicates, this book looks at Nixon's disgrace and the emergence of Reagan (beloved and invoked by Republican and Democrat alike) as the new face of the Republican party in the 80s and an ally to Christian conservatives. In Perlstein's hands, Reagan is less the Great Communicator and scourge of atheistic communism as a chipper cipher who blithely enacted destructive policies. At 800 pages, it's a substantial read, but its energy and with never flags. As with any good history, it makes sense of the present as well as the past. Excellent.

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Tono777
Mar 15, 2016

Great Book of politics

a
Aw_19
Mar 12, 2016

A hefty book with a strong point of view. The author is particularly good at landing upon long-forgotten details of pop culture and weaving them into a thread that reveals some deeper truths about the anxieties of that era. Some readers might take issue with his decidedly negative portrayal of Ronald Reagan. But none of the characters portrayed within his narrative come off as angels. I would say this book may be a tad too long, but is definitely worth reading.

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MichaelMarchese
Feb 17, 2015

An Outstanding Read --- a bit weighty but very informative and wonderful trip down memory lane . The nineteen - seventies were indeed a shapeless , burned - out period between the high dramas of the sixties and the bright , hard edges of the Reagan Era . It is nice to reminisce on all the mismash of musical styles and fads and the complete blur of failed Presidents --- a mood of cynicism and farce .

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