Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's discount book purchase

Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years (hc) by Haynes Johnson for the grand total of one dollar.

One thing that strikes me nearly everytime I read a book critical of the Reagan years is how deja vu the criticism is. Let me quote the Publishers Weekly review and see if you get the feeling that you've heard this before (i.e. during the last eight years.)

Washington Post columnist Johnson here presents a stunning indictment of the Reagan administration that details its impact on social, economic and political life in America. He reviews abuses in the S&L institutions, in HUD, in the National Security Council, on Wall Street, in religious broadcasting and, most impressively, reveals how the administration renounced responsibility for ameliorating social distress. The book makes clear why the rich got richer and the poor poorer in the last decade. Johnson portrays President Reagan as a kind of Dr. Feelgood who fulfilled a public need for reassurance, and ironically evaded judgment during the Iran- contra affair because of his reputation for not being in charge. Summarizing what he sees as Reagan's legacy, the "ethical wastland of the eighties," the author points to growing fractionalization, subversion of the constitutional system, corruption and ineffectiveness of government, and cynicism and inattention of the American people.

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