Reagan and the Evil Empire

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Have you all seen these before?  They’re called “Word clouds”.  You can cut and paste and text and the words will be randomized but also manipulated in size by their frequency.  In other words in Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech, above, he used “God” quite a bit and “communism” rather less so.  I think they are interesting.

Here in Ambrose and Brinkley’s 15th chapter we have a marathon of words.  40+ pages!  Note the 5th edition was published in 1988, the sixth in 1991.  In one of those editions, the 6th I suspect, this chapter was new and a classic case of not having enough historical distance to weed out the significant from the non.  Student in one class lost his book and has newer edition which he says has this chapter much trimmed down.

If I were hunting for terms I might choose Ambrose’s take in the Iran-Contra affair, Lebanon, Grenada and maybe the Falkland Islands.

So what do A&B think of old Ronnie?  Good or bad or somewhere in-between?

One Response to “Reagan and the Evil Empire”

  1. Nick Lee says:

    I think this chapter was very interesting. First of all, Ambrose precedes his rant on Reagan by saying how complicated the situation in the Middle East was before stating how confused Reagan seemed to be. Everyone in the Middle East didn’t seem to have a focused goal in mind, and the borders of Middle Eastern countries were a clusterf*** of conflicting ideals. Ambrose paints a picture of disorganized chaos both at home and abroad, since Congress didn’t seem to agree with anything he wanted. Perhaps to Ambrose, Reagan was just a movie star who became too popular in the public. In addition to the disaster in the Middle East (which, according Ambrose, Reagan blamed on everyone else), he was obsessed with the hostage situation in Iran AND the obliteration of the Sandinistas. Sounds like Reagan had his hands full. Unfortunately for Reagan, Ambrose points out every mistake that Reagan makes and pretty much contributes his best decisions to luck.

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