Republican Character

Republican Character
From Nixon to Reagan

Donald T. Critchlow

220 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth Dec 2017 | ISBN 9780812249774 | Add to cart $34.95t | Outside N. America £28.99
Ebook Dec 2017 | ISBN 9780812294637 | Add to cart $34.95s | £23.00 | About
A volume in the Haney Foundation Series
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"Through tightly drawn, sharply observed biographies of four Republican statesmen—Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan—Donald T. Critchlow makes the case that character and temperament count for more than ideology. The argument is engagingly wrought, persuasive, and highly relevant to today's political scene."—Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon and Ike's Bluff

"Donald T. Critchlow has written an insightful, provocative volume about how the clashes—and sometime cooperation—between Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan shaped the modern Republican Party. The figures who emerge from this fine work are constantly maneuvering, adjusting to fresh political realities, and dealing with new issues thrown their way. By making these competitors human beings, driven by ambition and pragmatic instincts informed by principled convictions, Critchlow reveals these leaders as more nuanced and hence more interesting."—Karl Rove, author of The Triumph of William McKinley

"Politics makes for strange bedfellows," the old saying goes. Americans, however, often forget the obvious lesson underlying this adage: politics is about winning elections and governing once in office. Voters of all stripes seem put off by the rough-and-tumble horse-trading and deal-making of politics, viewing its practitioners as self-serving and without principle or conviction.

Because of these perspectives, the scholarly and popular narrative of American politics has come to focus on ideology over all else. But as Donald T. Critchlow demonstrates in his riveting new book, this obsession obscures the important role of temperament, character, and leadership ability in political success. Critchlow looks at four leading Republican presidential contenders—Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan—to show that, behind the scenes, ideology mattered less than principled pragmatism and the ability to build coalitions toward electoral and legislative victory.

Drawing on new archival material, Critchlow lifts the curtain on the lives of these political rivals and what went on behind the scenes of their campaigns. He reveals unusual relationships between these men: Nixon making deals with Rockefeller, while Rockefeller courted Goldwater and Reagan, who themselves became political rivals despite their shared conservatism. The result is a book sure to fascinate anyone wondering what it takes to win the presidency of the United States—and to govern effectively.

Donald T. Critchlow is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University and the founding president of the Institute for Political History. He is the author of many books, including Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade, The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History, and, most recently, Future Right: Forging a New Republican Majority.

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