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Forty years ago this August, President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. His successor, Gerald Ford, declared “our long national nightmare is over”—but then congressional investigators exposed the CIA for assassinating foreign leaders, the South Vietnamese government collapsed, and the economy faltered. Americans began thinking about their nation in a new way: as one more nation among nations, getting into the same kinds of trouble, facing the same kinds of challenges.
But Ronald Reagan never accepted that vision of America. When Reagan announced his intention to challenge Ford for the 1976 Republication nomination, he invented the new conservative political culture we now know. In The Invisible Bridge, historian and journalist Rick Perlstein, who has been called the "hypercaffeinated Herodotus of the American century," traces the tumultuous political and economic times of the 1970s and how they shaped what it means to believe in America.
Perlstein is a contributing writer at The Nation. His previous book, Nixonland, a New York Times best-seller, was picked as one of the best nonfiction books of the year by more than a dozen publications.
The Invisible Bridge (Simon & Schuster) is available for signing after the program.
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