National Review’s editor-at-large John O’Sullivan joins me today to discuss his wonderful The President, The Pope and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed The World.
Next year’s presidential election will occur during the 25th anniversary of the deployment of the Pershing II and cruise missiles in Europe, one of the central events of the many dramas of the ’80s that led, thanks to the leadership of the three central figures of this book, to the demise of the Soviet Union and the liberation of Eastern Europe. The deployment was resisted by a vast “peace movement” aided by the communists in many ways, and enabled by a media eager as always to elevate the apparently passionate over the preferences of clear majorities in the U.S. and Europe. Reagan and Thatcher persevered and their political program combined with the spiritual inspiration of the pontiff to first halt, then roll-back and then preside over the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
A great deal about those years has been forgotten –including the absurdly, hopelessly wrong estimates about the course of events from the entrenched left in this country– but O’Sullivan’s book is an expert recreation of the events that shaped our world today and ought to be read in every High School AP History class as well as the introductory survey classes of colleges and universities across the land.
The collapse of communism and the triumph of freedom wasn’t preordained. It had to be secured, and doing so required great courage, vision and resolve. O’Sullivan’s brilliant evocation of the character and purpose of Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II reminds readers what they should be looking for in leaders today, and what they already have.