Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years

Haynes Bonner Johnson, Author W.W. Norton & Company, Inc $24.95 (524p) ISBN 978-0-393-02937-6
Washington Post columnist Johnson here presents a stunning indictment of the Reagan administration that details its impact on social, economic and political life in America. He reviews abuses in the S&L institutions, in HUD, in the National Security Council, on Wall Street, in religious broadcasting and, most impressively, reveals how the administration renounced responsibility for ameliorating social distress. The book makes clear why the rich got richer and the poor poorer in the last decade. Johnson portrays President Reagan as a kind of Dr. Feelgood who fulfilled a public need for reassurance, and ironically evaded judgment during the Iran- contra affair because of his reputation for not being in charge. Summarizing what he sees as Reagan's legacy, the ``ethical wastland of the eighties,'' the author points to growing fractionalization, subversion of the constitutional system, corruption and ineffectiveness of government, and cynicism and inattention of the American people. First serial to Vanity Fair. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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