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Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America Paperback – April 14, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
When Nixon prepared to make his second run at the Presidency, Vietnam had ignited a rage in the nation's young. This rage intersected with the cultural cross currents of the quickening pace of the civil rights movement and the rise of leftwing radical groups. Many conservative whites thought the wheels were coming off the nation morally and culturally.
Nixon, seen by many at the time (and since by historians), as a tragic but brilliant figure, wore his deep felt hurt, anger and anxieties on his sleeve for all to see, but despite this he was judged (and proved to be) a smart political tactician. Perlstein's story centers on Nixon's character and how it proved to be a critical factor in shaping both domestic and foreign policy during his reign and in the process being responsible for making fundamental realignments in American domestic politics as well as changing the course of U.S. foreign policy with his ground breaking overture to China.
During the first part (1966), reading the tea leaves left by Reagan who had recently won the California governorship on a new "law and order" platform, and encouraged by a resounding defeat of a host of liberal LBJ legislation -- by essentially the same "law and order coalition" -- Nixon could see where the future was headed and plotted a course that he hope would set the troubled nation on a more even keel and get him elected in the process.Read more ›
The book is not a full scale biography of Nixon and some sections show obvious signs of editing which probably excised details that would be important to people not familiar with Nixon's life or major events of the 1960s. The book also relies a lot on secondary sourcing and could have used more aggressive fact checking on key details (e.g., Hugh Scott did not represent Ohio, Wayne Hays was not from Cleveland and, most embarrassingly for a resident of Chicago's South Side like Perlstein, the Dan Ryan Expressway goes no where near the West Side. Perlstein also goes with less credible accounts of Eisenhower's decision to place Nixon on the ticket (Eisenhower wanted Earl Warren) and the sweep of Eisenhower's disdainful treatment of his vice president (e.g., waiting until the last minute to endorse him in 1960) is not fully developed. The phoniness of Nixon's striving also gets a bit lost. Nixon was a poor relation (his mother's family were the local gentry), but never knew real poverty--unlike Lyndon Johnson, who shared many of Nixon's grievances about the world, or George McGovern whose view of life was more optimistic than that of Nixon or Johnson.Read more ›
Even if you are, say, 25, you live in Nixonland too. Like me you grew up with music from Nixonland, TV shows from Nixonland, a culture from Nixonland and, of course, politics shaped and defined by Nixonland. I agree with the author that we are still fighting pretty much the same battles that were first thrust upon the national stage in the form of Richard Nixon and others like RFK, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and George McGovern who make up the characters in this grand story, all the wierder because its all true. I honestly think, however, that the 2008 election might just mark the beginning of a new era. Some of these battles are getting old. I think we are heading out of Nixonland but we are not there yet. If you want to know where we are and how we, as a country, got here, Nixonland is the place to start.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rick Perlstein is an excellent historian and a gifted writer. This book is the best political history of the 1960's (a period I lived through) I have ever read. Mr. Read morePublished 3 days ago by fendercaster68
As someone who lived through this time period, I must say that Rick Perlstein completely captures the A's chaos and intensity of those years. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Is Nixonland a time or a place? Back in 2008, Rick Perlstein stated that between 1965 and 1972 when Richard Nixon rose to not only the Presidency but achieving the third-largest... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matthew Ries
This is the best singe-volume history of the 1960s I've ever read. Perlstein's thesis is that between 1964 when Lyndon Johnston won the presidency in a landslide and 1972 when... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jim Lester
This book provides a good analysis of Nixon and the subsequent polarization of American politics.Published 2 months ago by Mr. Francis C. Andersen
Lengthy & difficult read, but well worth the effort. Gives the reader a greater appreciation of how Nixon incredibly rose from the ashes in four years, from 1962 to 1966, & was... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alan Staller
Very well documented but so extensive that it is best for scholars and history buffsPublished 3 months ago by Robert S. Hoffman
Compehensive and insightful. A great review of the times and the man. EXcellent seriesPublished 3 months ago by Derek Andrews