Now, with The Crusader, Kengor returns with the one book about Reagan that has not been written: The story of his lifelong crusade against communism, and of his dogged—and ultimately triumphant—effort to overthrow the Soviet Union.
Drawing upon reams of newly declassified presidential papers, as well as untapped Soviet media archives and new interviews with key players, Kengor traces Reagan's efforts to target the Soviet Union from his days as governor of California to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of what he famously dubbed the "Evil Empire. That Reagan not only wished for the collapse of communism, but had a deep and specific understanding of what it would take——and effected dozens of policy shifts that brought the USSR to its heels within a decade of his presidency.
The Crusader makes use of key sources from behind the Iron Curtain, including one key memo that implicates a major American liberal politician—still in office today—in a scheme to enlist Soviet premier Yuri Andropov to help defeat Reagan's reelection bid. This book is a valuable record of what motivated Reagan to see the communism for what it really was - an evil system bent on repressing its own citizens.
The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism
The book documents Reagan's anti-communist stand from his earliest political days, all the way through his years in the office. It gives an invaluable event-by-event chronology of all the systematic and relentless effort that Reagan put into dismantling the communist influence everywhere in the world that culminated in the final collapse of the Soviet Union and its many Eastern European satellite-states.
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If there is one criticism that I would have against this book, it would be that it sometimes portrays Reagan too one-dimensionally. The reader gets the impression that anti-communism was the only motivator behind this great American president. Nevertheless, this is a great andextremely well researched book and it is extremely valuable to anyone with interest in either Ronald Reagan or the Cold War. Dec 01, Jeff rated it really liked it. To all who feel Ronald Reagan was a sweet talking, below average intelligent dolt whose only role in ending the Cold War was simply being in the right place at the right time, read this book!
Through meticulous and broad research using dozens of recently declassified documents from both the Americans and Soviets as well as in- depth interviews with key players on both sides, this book proves that Ronald Reagan's hand in ending the Cold War was not only guided by his own intelligen To all who feel Ronald Reagan was a sweet talking, below average intelligent dolt whose only role in ending the Cold War was simply being in the right place at the right time, read this book!
Through meticulous and broad research using dozens of recently declassified documents from both the Americans and Soviets as well as in- depth interviews with key players on both sides, this book proves that Ronald Reagan's hand in ending the Cold War was not only guided by his own intelligence and determination, but that the Cold War would simply not have ended when it did if it wasn't for Reagan. Again, I can't say enough about the solid research that bolster's Kengor's argument.
He goes right to the source and gives you a front row seat in the White House and Kremlin themselves during the Cold War and allows you to witness first hand the very real war that was being waged between freedom and oppression. Kengor also discusses the critics of Reagan in several of the chapter's, going right to their main arguments and elaborating on either how they have come to their conclusions through misinterpretation of evidence or how their interpretations were formed simply with a lack of available evidence at the time like I said, many of these documents have only been declassified within the last few years.
Perhaps the greatest declassified document included is actually included in its entirety in the appendix, and it is a letter from then Senator Ted Kennedy to the Soviets in concerning his and the Democrats disgust with Reagan's "warmongering" and "crazy tactics" and their desire to get a more "moderate" candidate elected who is more effective at working with the Soviets. I couldn't believe it. The verdict of history has clearly established the winners and losers of the political debates of the s. In short, Ronald Reagan defeated an enemy, Communism, that was responsible for more deaths than both World Wars combined without so much as a single military engagement.
People who want to be inspired and motivated by a man's crusade to spread the fruits of freedom to the oppressed of the world. OR anyone who believes Reagan's legacy is a myth and he was simply a charismatic dolt who was unintelligent and largely not responsible for the successful policies of his advisors.
Sep 17, Cliff rated it it was amazing. Paul Kengor, a professor at Grove City College, has written a number of books, and I've enjoyed each one of them. He's excellent at writing biographic sketches of people, backed by good academic work, but doing an excellent job of discussing the actual person, as a person, and what made them tick.
This is his best book yet, because his scholarship is just getting stronger and more thorough, and he's getting better and better at weaving it in to his personal biographic sketches.
This one is heavy Paul Kengor, a professor at Grove City College, has written a number of books, and I've enjoyed each one of them. This one is heavy on the "what" and the "how" and then explaining "why" as part of the fabric of the story. He does the most thorough job of explaining what Reagan's foreign policy was, and how he went about doing it, that I've read up to this point, including in many books written by people that were closer to him at the time. Part of this is because there have been a lot of declassified documents, both in the US and in the USSR and it's client states, but part of it is just because Kengor is better at weaving these themes together in a seamless narrative.
Bottom line is this book is a real winner. Anyone interested in foreign policy of the Reagan Presidency, or any facet thereof, would benefit greatly from reading this book. Mar 07, Hank Pharis rated it liked it. We all know that Reagan called on Gorbachev to tear down the wall but I had no idea how Reagan had purposely worked for the overthrow of the Soviet Union for decades. He first announced this goal in He did amazing things that I had never heard about before.
For example, he knew that the Soviet economy was struggling so he kept expanding our defense spending. At one point the U.
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The Russians finally realized that there was no way they could We all know that Reagan called on Gorbachev to tear down the wall but I had no idea how Reagan had purposely worked for the overthrow of the Soviet Union for decades. The Russians finally realized that there was no way they could keep up.
The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism by Paul Kengor
Meanwhile Reagan secretly worked a deal with Saudi Arabia for them to flood the oil market. They just sold more and Russia lost one of their most important exports. Also when Reagan had the first SDI missle lauched to prove it would work there was a beacon in the target that made our missle hit it.
In other words, we duped the Russians into believing we had a SDI prototype. There are many remarkable stories here that I had previously missed. I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book. This is an enjoyable read and makes a strong case that Reagan was one of the greatest American presidents.
However, it focuses primarily on Reagan's foreign policy exploits; so don't expect to find much detail about his economic policies. Regardless, the foreign policy anecdotes are excellent. For example, in the French brought what was called the "Farewell Dossier" to the attention of U. A Soviet defector by the name of Colonel This is an enjoyable read and makes a strong case that Reagan was one of the greatest American presidents.
A Soviet defector by the name of Colonel Vladimir Vetrov, who was the author of the dossier, wrote that approximately spies throughout the West had infiltrated various government agencies and privates corporations and were stealing key defense technology for the Soviets. In response, Reagan authorized U. In one particularly successful instance, the Soviets were leaked faulty computer software, which they in turn used to run their new Siberian gas pipeline. Unbeknownst to them, the software was programmed to initially pass Soviet quality-control tests, until a hidden program within the software eventually instructed the pumps and valves to produce pressure beyond capacity, which in turn caused the pipeline to explode.
According to the book, it was "the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space. Nov 19, Brian rated it really liked it Shelves: Paul Kengor's book is an interesting look at the Reagan legacy with regards to foreign policy. While a Reagan booster and fan of the president I think this book goes to far in asserting what Reagan knew about the downfall of the Soviet Union. Underscored in the Kengor's points is one key difference the Reagan often does not get enough credit for which is that Reagan was the first president who believed the Soviet Union could be defeated.
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