I'm Nick Bryant, the BBC's New York correspondent, and the author of When America Stopped Being Great: A History of the Present. My love affair with America began as a young child, but was sealed when I paid my first visit here as a teenager. It was 1984, I touched down in Los Angeles on the eve of the Olympics, and I got to experience America’s extraordinary summertime of resurgence. I marveled at 84 pianists thumping out Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and the rocketman who buzzed the Los Angeles Coliseum with a jetpack affixed to his back. Then I witnessed a modern-day gold-rush, as Team USA dominated the medals table. After the long national nightmare of Vietnam, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis, the United States reasserted its global dominance. Later that year, Ronald Reagan won re-election in a landslide, with a ringing slogan, that perfectly captured the spirit of the times: “It’s Morning Again in America.” My new book, When America Stopped Being Great, explains how we went from “It’s Morning Again in America” to the “American carnage” of Donald Trump’s inaugural address, the mass mourning of the Coronavirus outbreak and the storming of the US Capitol. It also shows how each successive president, from Reagan through to Obama, contributed to the rise of Donald Trump. His presidency was not a historical accident. Given what happened over the previous 50 years, it was almost historically inescapable.Read more Read less
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