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The outpouring of grief at the funeral of Ronald Reagan in 2004 -- and the acknowledgment that Reagan has come to be considered one of the greatest presidents of the twentieth century -- is Regnery's opening for a fascinating insider story. Beginning at the start of the twentieth century, he shows how in the years prior to and just post World War II, expanding government power at home and the expanding Communist empire abroad inspired conservatives to band together to fight these threats. The founding of the National Review, the drive to nominate Barry Goldwater first as vice-president and later as president, the apparent defeat of the conservative movement at the hands of Lyndon Johnson, and the triumphant rise of Ronald Reagan from the ashes are all chronicled in vivid prose that shows a uniquely intimate knowledge of the key figures. Regnery shares his views on the opposition that formed in response to Earl Warren's Supreme Court rulings, the role of faith (both Roman Catholic and Evangelical) in the renewed vigor of conservatism, and the contributing role of American businessmen who attempted to oppose big government.
Upstream ultimately gives perspective to how the most vibrant political and cultural force of our time has influenced American culture, politics, economics, foreign policy, and all institutions and sectors of American life.