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Just Plain Dick: Richard Nixon’s Checkers Speech and the “Rocking, Socking” Election of 1952 Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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Eighteen years after his death and 38 years after his resignation from the presidency in the midst of the Watergate scandal, Nixon remains an object of fascination. Mattson chronicles one of the seminal episodes in Nixon’s political career, the 1952 presidential election, in which Nixon’s now famous “Checkers” speech, delivered on national television, saved his spot as vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket. Mattson employs some gimmicks that should make professional historians cringe. In particular, he details supposed thoughts Nixon had in critical moments, which cannot possibly be verified. Still, the portrait of Nixon offered by Mattson is familiar and credible. Nixon is brilliant, insecure, resentful against imagined enemies, and manipulative, as he showed when defending himself against charges of accepting questionable campaign “gifts,” including the puppy, Checkers. This is an uneven but informative examination of a defining political campaign for both Nixon and the nation. --Jay Freeman
“Mattson's excellent book is a timely companion to the current election season.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Mattson's portrait of a crusading, emotional Nixon on the verge of victory colors in all the campaign's background details, including relevant pop culture detours and digressions, from Hedda Hopper and Lucille Ball to the hole in Adlai Stevenson's shoe.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Mattson's book will appeal to historians, politicians, politics buffs, and those interested in the impact of television on the electorate.” ―Library Journal
“Mattson, the author of six fine books on politics and intellectual history, contends that the speech transformed not only the 1952 election but also American political culture... Eisenhower and Nixon's 1952 campaign was an important contributor to unfortunate development[s for which] we are still paying the price... today.” ―Boston Globe
Top customer reviews
Rating: Three-star (It's ok)