Reagan Project

In 2013, the Adams Center launched a project to explore leadership and national security affairs during the Ronald Reagan presidency.

The initiative involved a series of scholarly activities in Lexington and beyond—and culminated in the publication of Reagan and the World: Leadership and National Security, 1981–1989 (University Press of Kentucky, 2017). Co-edited by Adams Center director Bradley Lynn Coleman and Arizona State University professor Kyle Longley, the book is a collection of essays by historians, and foreign policy professionals, Reagan, and the World is available at the VMI Bookstore and online.  Royalties support cadet development at Virginia Military Institute.

In addition to the essays printed in Reagan and the World, the Reagan program generated significant scholarship on other aspects of the Reagan era. The six essays, below, written with Adams Center support, complement the book published by the University Press of Kentucky. In the first, renowned journalist and Reagan biographer Lou Cannon shares his personal insights on the president’s leadership in “Freedom Man.” Alan Dobson, now an honorary professor at St. Andrews University, dissects Reagan’s pragmatism and management style in an essay entitled “Reagan’s Strategies and Policies.” Svetlana Savranskaya covers the Reagan-Gorbachev summits—including insightful treatment of the president’s 1988 visit to Moscow—in her paper, “Bringing Down the Walls.” The two leading scholars of Red Army, David Glantz and Jacob Kipp, provide readers with essential reading on Soviet conventional and nuclear policy during the 1980s. Finally, James Hentz, the head of VMI’s Department of International Studies and Political Science, treats U.S. policy toward southern Africa during the Cold War in “Reading History Forward.”

  1. Freedom Man: The Leadership of Ronald Reagan
    Lou Cannon

  2. Reagan’s Strategies and Policies: Ideology, Pragmatism, Loyalties, and Management Style
    Alan Dobson

  3. Bringing Down the Walls: Reagan and Gorbachev
    Svetlana Savranskaya

  4. Reagan and the Soviet Union: Competing Military Strategies, 1980-1988
    David Glantz

  5. From RYaN to Reykjavik: The Role of Nuclear Weapons in Ending the Cold War
    Jacob Kipp

  6. Reading History Forward: The Lessons of Constructive Engagement
    James Hentz

Combined with Reagan and the World, these essays describe and analyze key aspects of the Reagan era. Even so, the ongoing declassification of Reagan administration records promises to enrich our understanding of this important period. For additional research opportunities, see Ryan Carpenter’s “Researching Reagan: A Guide to Scholars of National Security Policy during the Ronald Reagan Presidency,” Reagan and the World, pp. 293–306, and resources on the Adams Center research page.

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