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TRICKY DICK AND THE PINK LADY: Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas, 1950 [Kindle Edition]

Greg Mitchell
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

~~ A New York Times "Notable Book."

The year 1950 was a time of absolute trauma for America. The Korean War began, the Communists completed their takeover of China, and the United States sent its first military advisers to South Vietnam. The Rosenbergs were arrested as spies for the Soviet Union, which had recently tested its first atomic bomb. Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Hollywood blacklist were making headlines across the country. And it was a year that produced one of the most notorious and influential election contests in America's history.

In California, two prominent members of Congress, Richard Nixon and Helen Gahagan Douglas, squared off for a seat in the U.S. Senate. He was a dynamic thirty-seven-year-old lawyer of moderate means who had just helped send Alger Hiss to jail; she was a rich and beautiful former actress turned progressive Democrat--a pioneering female activist in Congress who attempted to become one of the first women elected to the Senate. In a climate of Red hysteria, Nixon's chief election strategy was smearing Douglas as a Communist sympathizer. She was, he said, "pink right down to her underwear."

The acclaimed "Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady"--first published by Random House, now available in this new edition--is the first book to present a full-length portrait of the campaign widely remembered as one of the dirtiest ever, and pivotal in the history of sexual politics. Greg Mitchell draws on a wealth of original documents--including shocking, never-before-published letters and memos by Nixon and his tenacious campaign manager Murray Chotiner--that he discovered at the National Archives. In an engrossing blow-by-blow narrative featuring Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Randolph Hearst, Cecil B. De Mille, Melvyn Douglas (the candidate's husband), Harry Truman, and future presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Reagan, Mitchell vividly captures the sensational 1950 race: the cunning tactics of a young Nixon that first earned him the indelible nickname "Tricky Dick"; the challenges and criticism Douglas faced as a woman in politics; and the paralyzing fear that marked the dawn of the McCarthy era and blacklisting in the movies, television, and radio.

The book is full of startling anecdotes--for example, JFK backing Nixon in the race-- humorous incidents, and newly uncovered "dirty tricks."

"A fair, compelling, and convincing account of a dark period of American history." -- The Economist

"An instructive reminder of how bad things really were in the good old days." -- The Washington Post

"A history of politics most slimy that is also a page-turner." -- Entertainment Weekly (Rating: A-)

"An extremely readable primer on a pivotal episode in Nixon's rise to national prominence and power." -- Los Angeles Times

"Mitchell is skilled at political storytelling." -- The Boston Globe


Greg Mitchell has written more than a dozen books, including "The Campaign of the Century" (on Upton Sinclair's epic race for governor of California), winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize. Other books inlclude "Why Obama Won," "Atomic Cover-Up," "Journeys With Beethoven" and "Truth and Consequences" (about WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning). He was the longtime editor of Editor & Publsiher and currently writes daily for The Nation.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Greg Mitchell is the author of more than a dozen books, including "The Campaign of the Cnetury," on Upton Sinclair's wildly influential race for governor of California in 1934 (winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize). His other books include "Why Obama Won," "Atomic Cover-Up" (on U.S. film footage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki), "Truth and Consequences" (on Bradley Manning), and "Journeys With Beethoven."

Product Details

  • File Size: 663 KB
  • Print Length: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Sinclair Books (June 22, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008E78BUC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,257 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars The Election Campaign of the Century June 20, 2014
By Maurice
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Since I was 13 I heard about this senatorial campaign but never until now did I know how viciously fought it was. Nixon used a huge war chest to perfect the well known attack dog methods he had used in the late 40s. The atmosphere of fear created by McCarthy and other radical anti-communists was used artistically by Nixon to destroy Helen Douglas's congressional service and impugn her loyalty and that of her actor husband. Among the facts I didn't know was the use of anti-Semitic slurs by his campaign and the collusion of Nixon with NY congressman Marcantonio to smear her as a communist abettor. I was also surprised by the lack of support she received from President Truman and his administration.

Anyone interested in McCarthyism hysteria should add this book to his collection.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but light April 16, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After Cano this bio was superficial and I worried about its accuracy. Ok for a non critical sentimental review of period
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3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it, but there were some ovious flaws. July 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The editing was quite poor. Words were split for no obvious reason, and letters and numbers were occassionally interchanged. In re to substance, the author called Nixon a "world class poker player" but provided no evidence of it. Such an outlandish claim makes the reader wonder what else he pulled out of thin air. That said, I learned quite a bit about the campaign (and the time). At least I think I did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Women in politics: unique barriers August 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good resource to understand this important political campaign which will be of special interest to Nixon supporters and women.
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