I first encountered Rick Perlstein when I read the second installment of his trilogy, Nixonland, about the rise of the conservative Republican party. I was so impressed with that book that I went back and read the first installment about Barry Goldwater's failure and the foundations of the movement, After The Storm. So it seems fitting that in 2016, an election year, I should finish the trilogy and read The Invisible Bridge: The Fall Of Nixon And The Rise Of Reagan (2014). In the first chapter, "Small and Suspicious Circles," Perlstein focuses on the division of America-mainly due to Richard Nixon's inept handling of the Vietnam War, and more tellingly the lies that he used to justify that war and the lies that resulted in the Wartergate scandal that followed. At this time Regan came on the scene as a booster for the Republican party as California's governor. "Stories," Chapter Two, takes a look at the mythology and story telling prowess of Regan as an young man that would be central in his approach to win over people throughout his life. Unsurprisingly many of these stories are far from fact: "Ronald Reagan was an athlete of the imagination, a master at turning complexity and confusion and doubt into simplicity and stout-hearted certainty." The next chapter, "Let Them Eat Brains," was fascinating for me, since I was too young to remember the meat price crisis that preceded Watergate in which people began to boycott meat in protest. Also at this time Reagan was caught not paying taxes-but the story never gained traction and was forgotten. The next few chapters ("Executive Privilege," "A Whale of a Good Cheerleader", "Sam Ervin," "John Dean," "Nostalgia," "The Year Without Christmas.") continue to chart Nixon's inevitable fall from grace as he hides behind "executive privilege" and nearly disobeys laws to avoid getting embroiled in the Watergate scandal, Perlstein checks in on Reagan who dismisses charges against those in his party and gain more and more support form his party while cultural changes are occurring all over America and the world. The following two chapters, "That Thing Upstairs Isn't My Daughter"(Chapter 10) and "Hank Aaron"(Chapter 11) are notable for the way that Perlstein is able to chronicle the cultural and societal temperature at a given moment or time and how it reflected in the politics of the time. The Exorcist tapped into a nationwide fear of the occult and-the uncontrollable nightmares that were happening to the Hearst family where their daughter was kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming a member of the Symbian Liberation Army-which wanted a violent revolution. As Aaron approached Babe Ruth's seemingly "untouchable " record the hate threats rolled in to show America has not progressed as far as it had hoped with the civil rights movement. As the book progresses, Perstein relays how Nixon faced impeachment, then resigned, and was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford. The facts were then evaluated from the point of view of the media and general public, Reagan, and the stalwart far right who have slowly been gaining a foothold in the GOP since Goldwater's bid to become president. Chapter 17, "Star" is an important chapter, since this is where Perlstein explains how Reagan moved from the left (Democrat) to the right (Republican) and made the transition form entertainment into politics. Along the way he was dumped by Jane Wyman and joined forces with Nancy Davis. The Ford presidency has its honeymoon and then quickly spirals downward after the pardoning of Nixon. Ford fights for his political life to gain the GOP nomination. It was a close battle and in many ways shows how the party has once again moved right on a socially faith-based conservative platform that was pro-life, book banning, anti-ERA, anti-gun control, etc. I am supposing that Perlstein's next book will tackle the Ford-carter election as well as Carter's administration and the rise of Reagan with what I guess would be a book on his presidency as well. It will be interesting to see where Perlstein goes in future books. Once again he did an excellent job of using a variety of sources to show how the country and politics reflected one another.