In this dramatic meditation on the life of Ronald Reagan, historian Paul Kengor presents an account of the fortieth president that has never been writtenone that details Reagan’s campaign against the Soviet Union, which lasted for more than forty years. Tracing Reagan’s anti-Communist sentiment to his days as president of the Screen Actors Guild, Kengor illuminates how this experience first emboldened the actor to speak out against the oppression of the Soviet Union and describes Reagan’s multifaceted efforts to prevent Communism from taking hold in Hollywood. Ultimately his SAG tenure paved the way for his burgeoning political career, which, from its inception, had but one purpose: the end of Communism.
Utilizing reams of recently declassified documents, Kengor assembles a striking mosaic of Reagan’s words and actions that toppled the Soviet Union. From Reagan’s covert support of the rebels who defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan to his secret oil collusion with Saudi Arabia that devastated the Soviet economy, Kengor reveals how Reagan’s eight years in office did more to bring down the Soviet Union than any single administration in the history of the Cold War. With painstaking detail, he also explains Reagan’s crucial move to escalate the arms race with the Kremlin, a decision that, though politically unpopular, proved vital to the Soviets’ eventual downfall.
Revisiting many of the administration’s principal characters, Kengor speaks with the individuals who helped shape foreign policy under Reagan. These testimonies give unfettered access into the hearts and minds of those closest to Reagan, revealing how this group translated Reagan’s ideas into a comprehensive strategy to destroy the Soviet Union. In addition, Kengor delves into never-before-studied Soviet documents and propaganda, uncovering how the other side perceived Reagan’s advances and attempted to counter his progress with its unique brand of disinformation. Also told here is an incendiary revelation of the liberal American politician who reportedly reached out to the Soviets to derail Reagan’s 1984 bid for reelection.
With unparalleled research, this fascinating book tells the story of a man who believed that it was his responsibility to save the world from Soviet oppression. It’s a story that demonstrates how one American’s fight ended the twentieth-century’s longest war. It’s a story of one man who changed history. It’s the story of a crusader.