Ronald Reagan: The Politics of Symbolism

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Ronald Reagan: The Politics of Symbolism

By Robert Dallek
Harvard University Press, 1984
221 pp. $16.50

Mr. Dallek's interesting but not entirely convincing argument is that Ronald Reagan's ideology stems from a deep psychological need to repudiate the failure of his father, an alcoholic who was dependent on others. The welfare state symbolizes that dreaded dependency, while the Soviet Union represents the same thing in a malignant form. The book is recommended to those with a taste for psychobiography. Others will find more than sufficient explanation for President Reagan's ideas in the political history and culture of this country.

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