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"I admire Russia for wiping out an economic system which permitted a handful of rich to exploit and beat gold from the millions of plain people. . . . As one who believes in freedom and democracy for all, I honor the Red nation." --FRANK MARSHALL DAVIS, 1947. In his memoir, Barack Obama omits the full name of his mentor, simply calling him "Frank." Now, the truth is out: Never has a figure as deeply troubling and controversial as Frank Marshall Davis had such an impact on the development of an American president.
Based on extraordinary research: a major reassessment of Ronald Reagan's lifelong crusade to dismantle the Soviet Empire-including shocking revelations about the liberal American politician who tried to collude with USSR to counter Reagan's efforts Paul Kengor's God and Ronald Reagan made presidential historian Paul Kengor's name as one of the premier chroniclers of the life and career of the 40th president. 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." The result is a major revision and enhancement of what historians are only beginning to realize: 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 1984 reelection bid. Such new finds make The Crusader not just a work of extraordinary history, but a work of explosive revelation that will be debated as hotly in 2006 as Reagan's policies were in the 1980s.
For nearly three decades political observers have sought to understand the complex relationship between Hillary Clinton's faith and her politics. Now, in this first spiritual biography of the former first lady, acclaimed historian Paul Kengor sets out to answer the elusive question: What does Hillary Clinton believe? Based on exhaustive research, God and Hillary Clinton tells the surprising story of Hillary's spiritual evolution, detailing the interaction between her lifelong religious beliefs and her personal history that has made her the politician she is today. Offering an in-depth spiritual chronology of Clinton's life, author Paul Kengor also analyzes the fraught relationship between her faith and her secular policies--most notably how she reconciles her pro-choice stance on abortion with her Christian beliefs--and scrutinizes how these policies have changed over the course of her political career. What emerges is an unexpected portrait of a political figure whose ideals have been shaped by both the power of her politics and the depth of her religious devotion.
Ronald Reagan is hailed today for a presidency that restored optimism to America, engendered years of economic prosperity, and helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet until now little attention has been paid to the role Reagan's personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling him to confront the brutal -- and, not coincidentally, atheistic -- Soviet empire. In this groundbreaking book, political historian Paul Kengor draws upon Reagan's legacy of speeches and correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him well, to reveal a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life. Raised in the Disciples of Christ Church by a devout mother with a passionate missionary streak, Reagan embraced the church after reading a Christian novel at the age of eleven. A devoted Sunday-school teacher, he absorbed the church's model of "practical Christianity" and strived to achieve it in every stage of his life. But it was in his lifelong battle against communism -- first in Hollywood, then on the political stage -- that Reagan's Christian beliefs had their most profound effect. Appalled by the religious repression and state-mandated atheism of Bolshevik Marxism, Reagan felt called by a sense of personal mission to confront the USSR. Inspired by influences as diverse as C.S. Lewis, Whittaker Chambers, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he waged an openly spiritual campaign against communism, insisting that religious freedom was the bedrock of personal liberty. "The source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual," he said in his Evil Empire address. "And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man." From a church classroom in 1920s Dixon, Illinois, to his triumphant mission to Moscow in 1988, Ronald Reagan was both political leader and spiritual crusader. God and Ronald Reagan deepens immeasurably our understanding of how these twin missions shaped his presidency -- and changed the world.
In this groundbreaking book, political historian Paul Kengor draws upon Reagan's legacy of speeches and correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him well, to reveal a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life.
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