Bibliotheca: The Age of Reagan by Sean Wilentz


Every once in a while I will start writing a book review, as I read them. So, for those of you who are interested, I begin with the book written by Sean Wilentz, a book of history, The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 (not to be confused with The Age of Reason, 1964-1980 by Steven Hayward, which I have not read as yet. Wilentz basically writes where Hayward leaves off, as I am told) …Empire, Medieval Age (or Middle Age), Renaissance, Age of Reason, Age of Faith (which some historians refer to as the Dark Age, and in a sense this is correct) and so forth – a global political figure of the age.” Indeed, few would deny that his powerful and popular appeal was conveyed upon the populace and different classifications of voters and his impact upon the American conservative movement, despite his claimed followers (Senator McCain for example) not adhering to his principled leadership qualities and ideology, would not have enjoyed what little remains of the political and cultural dominance it has enjoyed in the past thirty years. 


In his book, The Age of Reagan [i], Mr. Wilentz relays President Reagan’s rise to power, as well as his influence in opposing the political left’s agenda such as political correctness and those that supported it and followed after the Reagan wave of patriotism and political reasoning began the movement named after him.
Beginning with President Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 challenge to President Gerald Ford and the two presidential terms that followed in the Oval Office and the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, The Age of Reagan defined America from the end of the 20th century into the beginning of the 21st century. spotlights the great political and social events that has
One of the several interesting parts of the book, in my opinion, is the 1986 confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork [ii] before the Senate judiciary committee. Judge Bork was a notable legal academic and was outspoken as a conservative in the realm of politics and was opposed by Senate Democrats with the zeal of Leftist purpose. For example, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy declared that Bork would create an America where “women were forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters” and more of the scare tactics (a method that the left accuses others of, but whose use is most common with them) we hear so often coming from the left side of the American political arena. Judge Bork frequently replied with blunt and unapologetic answers to controversial questions asked by the senatorial committee, which further angered his leftist opponents. The political left does not like direct and truthful answers or remarks; it spoils their socialist agenda and ideology. The end result was that the committee voted nine to five against his appointment and the entire Senate rejected him 58 to 42.
Mr. Wilentz argues that Bork’s defeat “was the exception that proved just how successful Reagan’s White House had been in remaking the federal judiciary”. Prior to Bork’s confirmation hearings, for example, Reagan had successfully elevated conservative William Rehnquist to the position of Chief Justice and appointed Antonin Scalia as Associate Justice. In fact, Bork’s nomination results was the only failure in judicial appointments that Reagan underwent during the eight years he was president. Not a bad record, compared to President George W. Bush.
Wilentz covers the Iran-Contra Affair [iii] and the Savings and Loans crisis to the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the wartime presidency of George W. Bush – the Age of Reason is a good book of historical perspective and explanation of what some may have wondered about aspects of the Reagan administration and the years that followed, especially the Iran-Contra mess.
I give this book four stars out of five.

[i] I would have called the Reagan Age the “Age of Reason” (as well as a treatise by Thomas Paine), but that identity is already taken in terms of world history by established historians of past and present. 
[ii] This controversy developed the political term of “Borking” or “Borked” concerning a judicial nominee by Congress who is not picked because of record, achievements and adherence to the Constitution – and ignores political reasoning over constitutional law. 
[iii] Which demonstrates that every presidency, even good ones, have their problems within the massive bureaucracy and scope of our government, in terms of scandal and questionable ethical practices.