Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan

An Intellectual Biography

David T. Byrne

248 pages
1 graph, index


November 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In this ambitious work David T. Byrne analyzes the ideas that informed Ronald Reagan’s political philosophy and policies. Rather than appraising Reagan’s personal and emotional life, Byrne’s intellectual biography goes one step further; it establishes a rationale for the former president’s motives, discussing how thinkers such as Plato and Adam Smith influenced him. Byrne points to three historical forces that shaped Reagan’s political philosophy: Christian values, particularly the concept of a universal kingdom of God; America’s firm belief in freedom as the greatest political value and its aversion to strong centralized government; and the appeasement era of World War II, which stimulated Reagan’s aggressive and confrontational foreign policy.

Byrne’s account of the fortieth president augments previous work on Reagan with a new model for understanding him. Byrne shows how Reagan took conservatism and the Republican Party in a new direction, departing from the traditional conservatism of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk. His desire to spread a “Kingdom of Freedom” both at home and abroad changed America’s political landscape forever and inspired a new conservatism that persists to this day.

Author Bio

David T. Byrne is an adjunct professor of history at California Baptist University and Santa Monica College. He contributes to the blogs The American Thinker and Crisis: A Voice for the Faithful Catholic Laity.


Ronald Reagan: An Intellectual Biography provides unique insight into the mind of one of America’s most enigmatic presidents. This lucid work makes Ronald Reagan more comprehensible. It is an important contribution to Reagan scholarship.”—Peter Schweizer, author of Reagan’s War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism

“This book is a commendable effort to take Ronald Reagan eminently seriously for his intellect and his intellectual ideas, which indeed formed the basis of Reagan’s life and his presidency. Byrne accurately deduces the preeminent influence of faith and freedom in the life and mind of Reagan, who called faith and freedom the ‘twin beacons’ that brighten the American sky. America needed the guidance of both, and Reagan himself was guided by both.”—Paul Kengor, PhD, author of God and Ronald Reagan and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism

Table of Contents

1. Religious Roots    
2. From Liberal to Conservative    
3. Fostering Freedom at Home    
4. Understanding Reagan    
5. A Moral View of the Cold War    
6. Promoting Freedom Abroad    
7. Did Reagan’s Ideas Matter?    
8. The Reagan Intellectual Legacy    
Appendix: “A Time for Choosing”    

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