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About Gil Troy
Gil Troy is the award-winning author of "The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s" which will be published this October by Thomas Dunne Books of St. Martin׳s Press. A Professor of History at McGill University since 1990, and a visiting scholar this fall at The Brookings Institution, this will be his eleventh book. A leading presidential historian, Troy has also written about the history of American presidential elections, Ronald Reagan and the 1980s, Hillary Clinton, the importance of moderation in American democracy, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan's fight as US Ambassador to the UN against the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution. He writes a regular column for the Daily Beast on Forgotten History, putting current events in historical perspective and also writes a regular column for the Jerusalem Post. He has been widely published in The New York Times, The New Republic, and other major media outlets. Long designated by Maclean's Magazine as one of McGill's "Popular Profs," he is a sought-after public speaker.
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Nearly two decades after that 1989 speech, debate continues to rage over just how revolutionary those Reagan years were. The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction identifies and tackles some of the controversies and historical mysteries that continue to swirl around Reagan and his legacy, while providing an illuminating look at some of the era's defining personalities, ideas, and accomplishments. Gil Troy, a well-known historian who is a frequent commentator on contemporary politics, sheds much light on the phenomenon known as the Reagan Revolution, situating the reception of Reagan's actions within the contemporary liberal and conservative political scene. While most conservatives refuse to countenance any criticism of their hero, an articulate minority laments that he did not go far enough. And while some liberals continue to mourn just how far he went in changing America, others continue to mock him as a disengaged, do-nothing dunce. Nevertheless, as Troy shows, two and a half decades after Reagan's 1981 inauguration, his legacy continues to shape American politics, diplomacy, culture, and economics. Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush modeled much of their presidential leadership styles on Reagan's example, while many of the debates of the '80s about the budget, tax cutting, defense-spending, and American values still rage.
Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan remains the most influential president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and one of the most controversial. This marvelous book places the Reagan Revolution in the broader context of postwar politics, highlighting the legacies of these years on subsequent presidents and on American life today.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
In 1977, Natan Sharansky, a leading activist in the democratic dissident movement in the Soviet Union and the movement for free Jewish emigration, was arrested by the KGB. He spent nine years as a political prisoner, convicted of treason against the state. Every day, Sharansky fought for individual freedom in the face of overt tyranny, a struggle that would come to define the rest of his life.
Never Alone reveals how Sharansky's years in prison, many spent in harsh solitary confinement, prepared him for a very public life after his release. As an Israeli politician and the head of the Jewish Agency, Sharansky brought extraordinary moral clarity and uncompromising, often uncomfortable, honesty. His story is suffused with reflections from his time as a political prisoner, from his seat at the table as history unfolded in Israel and the Middle East, and from his passionate efforts to unite the Jewish people.
Written with frankness, affection, and humor, the book offers us profound insights from a man who embraced the essential human struggle: to find his own voice, his own faith, and the people to whom he could belong.
The most comprehensive Zionist collection ever published, The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland—Then, Now, Tomorrow sheds light on the surprisingly diverse and shared visions for realizing Israel as a democratic Jewish state. Building on Arthur Hertzberg’s classic, The Zionist Idea, Gil Troy explores the backstories, dreams, and legacies of more than 170 passionate Jewish visionaries—quadruple Hertzberg’s original number, and now including women, mizrachim, and others—from the 1800s to today.
Troy divides the thinkers into six Zionist schools of thought—Political, Revisionist, Labor, Religious, Cultural, and Diaspora Zionism—and reveals the breadth of the debate and surprising syntheses. He also presents the visionaries within three major stages of Zionist development, demonstrating the length and evolution of the conversation. Part 1 (pre-1948) introduces the pioneers who founded the Jewish state, such as Herzl, Gordon, Jabotinsky, Kook, Ha’am, and Szold. Part 2 (1948 to 2000) features builders who actualized and modernized the Zionist blueprints, such as Ben-Gurion, Berlin, Meir, Begin, Soloveitchik, Uris, and Kaplan. Part 3 showcases today’s torchbearers, including Barak, Grossman, Shaked, Lau, Yehoshua, and Sacks.
This mosaic of voices will engage equally diverse readers in reinvigorating the Zionist conversation—weighing and developing the moral, social, and political character of the Jewish state of today and tomorrow.
This speech made Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a celebrity, but as Gil Troy demonstrates in this compelling new book, it also marked the rise of neo-conservatism in American politics--the start of a more confrontational, national-interest-driven foreign policy that turned away from Kissinger's détente-driven approach to the Soviet Union--which was behind Resolution 3379. Moynihan recognized the resolution for what it was: an attack on Israel and a totalitarian assault against democracy, motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. While Washington distanced itself from Moynihan, the public responded enthusiastically: American Jews rallied in support of Israel. Civil rights leaders cheered. The speech cost Moynihan his job--but soon won him a U.S. Senate seat. Troy examines the events leading up to the resolution, vividly recounts Moynihan's speech, and traces its impact in intellectual circles, policy making, international relations, and electoral politics in the ensuing decades.
The mid-1970s represent a low-water mark of American self-confidence, as the country, mired in an economic slump, struggled with the legacy of Watergate and the humiliation of Vietnam. Moynihan's Moment captures a turning point, when the rhetoric began to change and a more muscular foreign policy began to find expression, a policy that continues to shape international relations to this day.
Did America's fortieth president lead a conservative counterrevolution that left liberalism gasping for air? The answer, for both his admirers and his detractors, is often "yes." In Morning in America, Gil Troy argues that the Great Communicator was also the Great Conciliator. His pioneering and lively reassessment of Ronald Reagan's legacy takes us through the 1980s in ten year-by-year chapters, integrating the story of the Reagan presidency with stories of the decade's cultural icons and watershed moments-from personalities to popular television shows.
One such watershed moment was the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. With the trauma of Vietnam fading, the triumph of America's 1983 invasion of tiny Grenada still fresh, and a reviving economy, Americans geared up for a festival of international harmony that-spurred on by an entertainment-focused news media, corporate sponsors, and the President himself-became a celebration of the good old U.S.A. At the Games' opening, Reagan presided over a thousand-voice choir, a 750-member marching band, and a 90,000-strong teary-eyed audience singing "America the Beautiful!" while waving thousands of flags.
Reagan emerges more as happy warrior than angry ideologue, as a big-picture man better at setting America's mood than implementing his program. With a vigorous Democratic opposition, Reagan's own affability, and other limiting factors, the eighties were less counterrevolutionary than many believe. Many sixties' innovations went mainstream, from civil rights to feminism. Reagan fostered a political culture centered on individualism and consumption-finding common ground between the right and the left.
Written with verve, Morning in America is both a major new look at one of America's most influential modern-day presidents and the definitive story of a decade that continues to shape our times.
On the eve of every election, many Americans become convinced that this presidential campaign is worse than it has ever been. Frustrated, we long for the good old days of dignified campaigns and worthy candidates. However, as Gil Troy’s fascinating history demonstrates, they never existed.
Originally, candidates did not run for office, but awaited the people’s call in dignified silence. When Stephen Douglas campaigned in 1860, he pretended to be visiting his mother as he traveled, not actively campaigning. In the post-1945 world, however, both Democratic and Republican candidates have stopped to kiss babies, donned hard hats, and pumped hands along the campaign trails. From the founding of our nation, Americans have wanted a leader who is simultaneously a man of the people and a man above the people.
In See How They Ran, Troy shows that our disappointment with current presidential campaigns is simply the latest chapter in a centuries-long struggle to make peace with the idea of leadership in a democratic society. This is an engrossing and essential read.