Reviewed by Roger Stone Historians are traditionally "men of the left," academics eager to re-write history. So it is with Ronald Reagan. "The Reagan tax cuts caused the deficit" we are told. "Federal revenues dropped due to the Reagan tax cuts," they sniff. None of this is true, of course. Craig Shirley's book, Rendezvous with Destiny, named for the signature phrase that Reagan lifted from FDR and used with great effect in a last minute TV appeal for Barry Goldwater in 1964, comes at a good time. Written with the aplomb of an insider - Shirley has been a right wing PR man involved in the struggle for 25 years - Shirley's book reminds us how tortured Reagan's ascendancy to head the Republican Party and the Nation was, and how the very people who would later call themselves "Reaganites" did everything possible to stop the former California Governor from being President. Unlike Shirley's first book on Reagan's 1976 campaign, Rendezvous with Destiny dissects the inscrutable Reagan campaign manager John P. Sears, hailed by some as a genius and others as the Anti-Christ. Sears is actually the architect of Reagan's set-up of George Bush in the Nashua debate. "I paid for this microphone Mr. Green," although a host of lesser lights try to take credit for it. Shirley bores in on Reagan's grit and persistence in pursuing his presidential dream but still produces the fact that Reagan wanted to be President to do something, not because he needed to be someone. Reagan's jaunty self confidence and comfort in his own skin comes through loud and clear in this narrative. Where Shirley does a particularly excellent job is in revealing the smallness and mean-spirited nature of Jimmy Carter. A sanctimonious prig, Carter is one of a long line of professional politicians who underestimated the Gipper. Former California Governor, Edmund G. 'Pat' Brown, thrashed by Reagan by almost 1 million votes in 1966, tried to warn Carter but the Carter White House team actually prefered Reagan to George Bush or Howard Baker as an opponent. Shirley incorrectly credits the gambit to secure the Liberal Party nomination for president for John B. Anderson in New York State to Reagan Pollster Dick Wirthlin. In fact, this clever ploy to split New York's liberal vote was the brain child of Roy M. Cohn and yours truly. Hamilton Jordan writes in his biography that this was a stunning and unexpected blow to Carter's re-election chances. Reagan carried New York with a plurality. Reagan's win in 1980 is remembered as a land-slide. It wasn't. Reagan's campaign was anything but smooth but when the Gipper hit his stride in late October, Carter was toast. Rendezvous with Destiny is the single best account of how Reagan became President. Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America