Republican Character: From Nixon to Reagan


Product Details

$34.95  $32.15
University of Pennsylvania Press
Publish Date
January 09, 2018
5.9 X 0.9 X 9.1 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Donald T. Critchlow is Katzin Family Professor of History and leads the Program in Political History and Leadership at Arizona State University. He is author of numerous books, including In Defense of Populism: Protest and American Democracy, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.


"Through tightly drawn, sharply observed biographies of four Republican statesmen--Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan--Donald T. Critchlow makes the case that character and temperament count for more than ideology. The argument is engagingly wrought, persuasive, and highly relevant to today's political scene."--Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon and Ike's Bluff

"Donald T. Critchlow has written an insightful, provocative volume about how the clashes--and sometime cooperation--between Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan shaped the modern Republican Party. The figures who emerge from this fine work are constantly maneuvering, adjusting to fresh political realities, and dealing with new issues thrown their way. By making these competitors human beings, driven by ambition and pragmatic instincts informed by principled convictions, Critchlow reveals these leaders as more nuanced and hence more interesting."--Karl Rove, author of The Triumph of William McKinley

"An original, evenhanded character study of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Nelson Rockefeller, four political rivals who dominated the Republican Party in the late 20th century. . . . While acknowledging that ideological litmus tests often count more than character and temperament in the current political climate, this readable history offers shrewd insights into the disposition of national leaders then and now."--Publishers Weekly

"Donald Critchlow has written a book called Republican Character at a time when the phrase sounds almost loaded. A year into Donald Trump's presidency, the topic of his perceived character defects and what voters ought to make of them has been endlessly canvassed. Happily, Critchlow, a professor at Arizona State University, is a political historian, not a pundit, and his slim volume is not an entry in that debate (though it is far from irrelevant to it). It is a compact and illuminating history of four Republicans who pursued the presidency in the latter half of the 20th century: Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan . . . [Critchlow] wants to show, through the intertwined biographies of these four men, that character is critically important to political success (or failure)."--The American Prospect

"Given the lack of civility and of political flexibility in Washington today, readers interested in the nature of political character and its relation to American democracy would do well to pick up Republican Character."--Origins