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Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician Paperback – November, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1005 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (P) (November 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805018344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805018349
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Weighing in at over 1,000 pages, Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician is undoubtedly the most detailed single volume on the political career of the disgraced ex-president. But the events in this book take place decades before the Watergate scandal, in an era when many were unsure whether Nixon might ever climb to heights of power from which to topple. After covering the first 33 years of Nixon's life in about 300 pages, Roger Morris immerses the reader in the major controversies of Nixon's time on Capitol Hill: the Alger Hiss case, the hotly contested California Senate race against Democrat incumbent Helen Douglas, and the charges of improper conduct that rocked the 1952 presidential campaign and motivated a desperate Nixon to make an appeal to the American public on live television (the speech is perhaps best remembered for his invocation of the family dog, Checkers). Morris takes Nixon to his 1953 inauguration, leaving the reader in no doubt of what it cost Nixon, the Republican Party, and America to make that moment happen. --Ron Hogan

From Publishers Weekly

Morris ( Haig ) is the first biographer to provide such an intimate close-up of Nixon's early years: his relationship with his parents and siblings; his fledgling career as a lawyer; his service as a Navy officer in the Pacific. His courtship of Patricia Ryan, whom he married in 1940, is covered at length along with a revealing analysis of her influence on the future president. The balance of this engrossing book concerns four major events during Nixon's initial rise to power--his election to the House of Representatives, his emergence as a national figure during the Alger Hiss-Whittaker Chambers affair, his 1950 Red-smear campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas and election to the Senate, his nomination as Eisenhower's running mate in the 1952 presidential campaign. Morris concludes this major biography with a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding the infamous "Checkers" speech, which saved the vice-presidential candidate from political oblivion. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas E. Sarantakes on April 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Before beginning this review, the reader should be made aware of some facts about the author of this book. Morris was a National Security Council staff member during the Nixon years. Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger had his phones tapped. Morris resigned his position in protest following the invasion of Cambodia. Since then he has written biographies of Kissinger, General Alexander Haig, and now Nixon.
The reader watches young Nixon grow up in a relatively prosperous family. Despite the future president's claims of poverty, the family sent to sons to college and owned a car during the depression. There were limits to the Nixons' finances. Richard was smart enough to win admission to Harvard, but his family could not afford to send him East. Despite the death of two brothers, Nixon's home was a supportive, nurturing environment. Yet, as hone high school friend noted, Richard was "admired rather than liked."
After the war, Nixon and his wife, Pat, dreaded returning to small town life. As a result, the interest a group of community leaders showed in him as a candidate to take on Congressman Jerry Voorhis was a godsend. According to Morris, this election marks the start of red-baiting in American politics and in Nixon's career. Voorhis and Nixon would later downplay the role of red-baiting in this election for very different reasons. Morris argues that this first campaign is the start of an inverse relationship ethics and political success in Nixon's career. That is, the higher Nixon rose in politics, the less he cared about the methods he used to get there. While this assertion might be true, Nixon in 1946 was nowhere near the cutting edge of mudslinging that Morris would have us believe.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
Roger Morris' book covers the life of Richard Nixon through his 1952 election to the Vice-Presidency. Most of the book focuses on the years 1946-52, covering five pivotal episodes in Nixon's career 1)His 1946 House campaign against Jerry Voorhis, 2) the Hiss case, 3) his 1950 Senate campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas, 4) his role in the 1952 Republican convention, and 5) the 1952 campaign with emphasis on the "secret fund" scandal that culminated with the "Checkers" speech. Morris clearly is not from the David McCullough, portray-your-subject-as-a-saint school of biographers. A reader gets a very clear sense of why Nixon came to merit the nickname "Tricky Dick" from Morris' portrayals of the dirty, dishonest campaigns against Voorhis and Douglas, and from Nixon's duplicitous behavior at the Republican convention, outwardly loyal to the California delegations chief, Gov. Earl Warren, while secretly maneuvering to throw the state's delegates to Eisenhower. Yet Morris' Nixon is also a three-dimensional man, not a cardboard villain.
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By J. Smallridge on December 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the best I've read about the beginning (and middle) of Richard Nixon's life. Like all great biographies, Morris spends time on the individuals surrounding Nixon -- fully illuminating a host of characters such as Helen Douglas, Whitaker Chambers, Alger Hiss, Dwight Eisenhower. I found myself learning just as much about them as I did about Nixon himself. To me, that is the critical difference between Stephen Ambrose's work and that by Morris. Whereas Ambrose's trilogy (also excellent) covers Nixon closely, this book covers him a bit more loosely to show how hard it was to truly know him (and what drove him).

My only regret about this work is that there isn't a second volume to cover his later years. I have no doubt Morris would do an exceptional job of covering his presidency and post-presidency years as well.
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By John A. Jago, Jr. on May 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed reading the book by the same author who wrote books on tow other Presents, T. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan.
Roger Morris has a good way of painting the historical background of others in a way that can be quite interesting and challenging to those who find it exciting to see what was going on in other lives.

The timing (in receiving the book) was good.
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