Becoming Ronald Reagan

The Rise of a Conservative Icon

Robert Mann

A fresh look at Reagan's transition from Hollywood actor to political stardom.
Publication date:
October 2019
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612349688

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
This book is available


• A fresh look at Reagan's transition from Hollywood actor to political stardom

Ronald Reagan's political career has long been an interesting and important field of study for historians of the twentieth century. Just as interesting, however, is Reagan's life during the 1950s and early 1960s, his period of evolution from struggling film actor to respected political figure. In our current era, when a former reality television star with no prior political experience is president of the United States, such a feat may seem unremarkable. In the 1960s, however, transitioning from acting to politics was rare. Reagan was not the first to do it—his onetime film co-star George Murphy won a U.S. Senate seat from California in 1964—but he was the first actor to jump from the screen to the stump to immediate credibility as a presidential contender. Reagan's transformation from struggling liberal actor to influential conservative spokesman in five years—and then to the California governorship six years later—is a remarkable and compelling story. In this absorbing book, Bob Mann explores Reagan's early career: his growing desire for acclaim in high school and college, his political awakening as a young Hollywood actor, his ideological evolution in the 1950s as he traveled the country for General Electric, the refining of his political skills during this period, his growing aversion to big government, and his disdain for the totalitarian leaders in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. All this and more shaped Reagan's politics and influenced his career as an elected official. Mann not only delineates how Reagan the actor became Reagan the political leader and how Reagan the liberal became Reagan the conservative, but also further shows how the skills Reagan learned and lessons he absorbed during his political apprenticeship from 1954 to 1964 made him the inspiring leader so many Americans remember from the 1970s and 1980s.