Some see the 1980s as a Golden Age, a “Morning in America” when Ronald Reagan revived America’s economy, reoriented American politics, and restored Americans’ faith in their country and in themselves. Others see the 1980s as a new “Gilded Age,” an era that was selfish, superficial, glitzy, greedy, divisive, and destructive. This multifaceted exploration of the 1980s brings together a variety of voices from different political persuasions, generations, and vantage points.
The volume features work by Reagan critics and Reagan fans (including one of President Reagan’s closest aides, Ed Meese), by historians who think the 1980s were a disastrous time, those who think it was a glorious time, and those who see both the blessings and the curses of the decade. Their essays examine everything from multiculturalism, Southern conservatism, and Reaganomics, to music culture, religion, crime, AIDS, and the city. A complex, thoughtful account of a watershed in our recent history, this volume will engage anyone interested in this pivotal decade.