Iwan Morgan, Ronald Reagan’s first British biographer, discusses Reagan’s life from small-town Illinois boyhood, through his Hollywood years, to his political career – first as California governor, then as national conservative spokesman, and finally as US president – in his newly published book. Tonight’s book-launch talk focuses on the presidential years. Morgan assesses Reagan’s presidential leadership on domestic issues, his shift from first-term Cold War hawk to second-term nuclear arms-reduction negotiator, and his revival of the ‘imperial presidency’ in the Iran-Contra operations. Whether Reagan changed America for the better or not is open to debate. What is less in doubt, Morgan argues, is that he is the most consequential president between 1945 and the present, one whose influence continued to shape the US long after he left office.
Iwan Morgan is Professor of US Studies and Commonwealth Fund Professor of American History at University College London. He was awarded the British Association of American Studies Honorary Fellowship in 2014 in recognition of his contributions to the discipline over the course of his career. He is also a fellow of Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute. A co-founder of the Presidential History Network, he has published a number of studies on the presidency, including: The Age of Deficits: Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush; Nixon; and (as editor) Presidents in the Movies: American History and Politics on Screen.
Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.