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Nixon, Vol. 2: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972 Hardcover – October 1, 1989


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671528378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671528379
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This second volume of Ambrose's biography begins with Nixon's drive to the presidency, which began, in the author's view, on November 7, 1962, with the "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore" press conference following his failure to be elected governor of California. Ambrose describes the successful 1968 presidential campaign against Hubert Humphrey, Nixon's first term in the White House and the 1972 campaign against George McGovern, which concluded with his stunning reelection margin. "I confess," the author writes disarmingly, "that I do not understand this complex man." It is unduly modest of Ambrose, for he offers a more rounded and detailed view of Richard M. Nixon--his instinctive reactions, patterns of thought, prejudices, convictions and accomplishments--than has yet been published. His account of Nixon's first term in office includes a thorough analysis of the president's efforts to end the war in Vietnam, his reestablishment of Sino-American relations, his authorship of detente with the Soviet Union and the start of arms control. Nixon's less successful domestic battles are covered in depth, with emphasis on his inability to work with Congress. Ambrose has turned up fresh material about the origins of the Watergate scandal, and describes how Nixon contrived to delay the crisis until after his reelection. Photos.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

It was clear with the first of these projected three volumes ( Nixon: The Education of a Politician, 1913-1962 , LJ 5/1/87, an LJ "Best Book of 1987") that this will be the definitive Nixon political biography. This second volume covers ten of the most critical years of Nixon's career and is based upon the available written and spoken words of Nixon and his associates, a monumental body of material. Ambrose, an Eisenhower authority, makes a unique contribution in balancing Nixon's stunning political abilities and glaring personal deficiencies, noting the consequences for the country and its president. His is a captivating work, written with fairness and skill. No library should omit this from its collection.
- Susan E. Parker, Harvard Law Sch. Lib.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage.He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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For history and biography buffs, I recommend this book to add to your collection.
Stephen Winkler
The work is largely neutral, fully detailed, and loaded with fascinating insights into one of America's most flawed leaders.
J. Smallridge
It is a good bridge to the third book which is nearly as good as the first volume of this series.
Sean Claycamp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Christopher B. Jonnes on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
As usual, Stephen E. Ambrose is flawless in this middle edition of the Nixon trilogy. The book is quite long and detailed to a fault. The detail includes huge quantities of actual quotes, painting a picture of Nixon about as clear as one can get on any man.
The picture I got was of a man not well suited for the presidency. Intelligent, clever, creative, bold, knowledgeable on world affairs, yes. But he also had character flaws. Over-sensitive almost to the point of paranoia, Nixon was driven by an obsession to be President more than the desire to be presidential. His statement in the later David Frost interview that, "If the President does it, it's not illegal," is very telling. The ends justified the means. He had the ability to rank goals above consequences, and almost everything he did was for the acquisition or preservation of political power.
The best example is Vietnam. He took four years to end a war he knew early on could not be won. His delays were to search for ways to avoid being the first American President to lose a war, and to prevent the staining of American honor. Both of which would have cost Nixon reelection in 1972. Ambrose makes the point that half the names on the Vietnam War Memorial are from the period of Nixon's futile attempts to foil Hanoi and fool America. People should never have to die to protect a politician's legacy.
I see Nixon and Clinton, representing both political parties, as two good examples of why character matters when we vote. For some reason, the presidency attracts extreme or narcissistic personalities whose motivations are more for glory than good. After reading Ambrose's book, the simple question, "Why does this person want to be president?" will rank higher in my mind.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rob Wood on January 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ambrose's style is excellent for the US politics student. He covers all fields of policy but centers, quite rightly, on Vietnam. Ambrose is very perceptive about Nixon the man, without being too sychophantic he is fair on the guy -- though maybe not always very complimentary. The book is very nicely balanced and the chronology does not flow perfectly so that Ambrose is able to concentrate on policy areas rather than conducting a simplistic and boring narrative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Cannistraro on July 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Richard Nixon between the years of 1962 - 1972 is ten years worth of a trip to both ends of the success-failure spectrum. Beginning with his loss of the California's governor's race in 1962, he uses the next six years to strategize his presidential victory in 1968, his battles with the Vietnam issue, and then back to the top with an overwhelming victory in the 1972 race. All of this presented in 662 pages by Stephen Ambrose who does a wonderful job in putting down on paper and making it a great read. Personally, I do not have a huge interest in the details of the Vietnam War but Ambrose does a good job in keeping it clear and interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Barton on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ambrose manages to be an historian who can accumulate many facts and make them clear and logical. He has an excellent style which makes it hard to put the book down. His description of Nixon's relationship with Henry Kissinger is worth the price of the book. It shows his personality and that of Kissinger better than the dozens of newspaper aricles I have read over the years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandra L. Stevens on December 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this very thorough in the author's examination of evidence. I enjoyed the book very much, but don't suggest it is an "everybody's read". I you have an interest in our government and in politics in general you will enjoy the book very much.

S Stevens
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Smallridge on September 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm conflicted over whether this is better than volume one of Ambrose's magnificent trilogy. Either way, this part of Nixon's biography, which covers his recovery after losing the race for the California governorship to the end of his first presidential term, captures the man as well as anything in print.

The work is largely neutral, fully detailed, and loaded with fascinating insights into one of America's most flawed leaders. Ambrose was clearly gifted in his craft -- the way he used evidence, built paragraphs, and constructed a narrative is fascinating to witness -- almost as compelling as the man at the center of the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DEP on March 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was obviously well researched. It certainly shed new light on the Nixon persona that I did not know existed. The 3 Nixon volumes should be required reading in history classes.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Staggers on August 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are like me, you found Ambrose's first volume at a used book store or online for a reasonable price. Now you are looking for volume 2 and experiencing sticker shock. Don't worry, if you are patient, you can obtain a copy of this book at a reasonable price. Check Amazon and other online sites regularly and you'll eventually obtain a good reading copy for $30 - $50 dollars. And while the final volume is also hard to find, it's more abundant that the second.

Now to the book. Ambrose provides a fair look at Nixon. He points out both his great strengths and weaknesses. The seeds of Nixon's destruction are evident throughout this book. In fact, Watergate itself occurs in this volume. The scandal occurs in the final volume.

If you wish to learn about Nixon and politics in the post World War II era, you'll be hard pressed to find a better source than Ambrose's three volumes.
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