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Kennedy and Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America Paperback – August 28, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
What surprised me most was the number of similarities between Kennedy and Nixon's political views. From their ardent anti-communism to their disdain for the prevailing purveyors of liberalism, it's easy to see how they forged a friendship upon their election to Congress in 1947.
Kennedy and Nixon also shared a strong desire to move ahead and gain the ultimate prize - the Presidency - and this evenaully lead to their rivalry and ultimate disdain for one another. I never realized how Kennedy (and his family) consumed and impacted Nixon's political and physical psyche. But given Teddy Kennedy's significant behind-the-scenes involvement in Nixon's ultimate downfall, fully chronicled here, he had good reason.
If you're searching for a fresh analysis and interpretation of these two icons in American history, this is the book for you.
He describes the Kennedy flaws quite aptly. He lays out the Nixon virtues in quite the same way.
It begins with Kennedy and Nixon both elected to the house of representatives in 1946. Kennedy was jovial and light. Nixon was quite a serious young man. Nixon went to the senate first. Kennedy made it to the Senate when Nixon became vice-president. The men had a cordial relationship.
In 1946 they went to Pennsyvannia to debate. Afterwards they ate dinner together in a local diner. On the train trip back to Washington they flipped a coin for the bottom bunk. Richard Nixon was a Guest at John and Jackie's wedding. They were both guests at Senator Joe McCarthy's wedding.
They would have remained cordial until they went against each other in the 1960 presidential contest.
Matthews shows how this loss at the hands of John Kennedy changed the way he saw politics. In a way Matthews blames the kennedy's for Nixon's ethical demise. Nixon felt the Kennedy's stole the election and decided no more Mr. Nice Guy. The culmination of this would lead to Nixon's resignation some 14 years later.
I left the book liking both Kennedy and Nixon as men and Presidents more than when I picked it up.
In it, Richard Nixon, the 37th president who resigned under pressure from the Watergate scandal, battles the ambitions, then the "Camelot" mythology of President John F. Kennedy, who defeated Nixon in 1960's close, contested election. Nixon is then shadowed throughout his political life by memories of the slain president: first by brother Robert, (a likely 1968 candidate before his assassination), and finally youngest brother Edward Kennedy.
"Kennedy vs. Nixon" tells a story of personal friendship souring under political differences and career paths. It shows how these cordial political colleagues who shared a hallway both opposed what they saw as Yalta's squandered victory after World War II, and fought Communist insurgency and infiltration domestically and internationally. Matthews traces their roles in the era's major events, all playing against a Cold War backdrop: tacit support for Joe McCarthy's investigations, distrust of Alger Hiss as Nixon prosecuted him, 1952's infamous "Checkers" speech preserving Nixon's vice-presidential candidacy even as President Dwight Eisenhower coldly minimizes Nixon's accomplishments and even attempts to remove him.
During these chapters Matthews reveals the start of Nixon's legendary personal distrust, hinted when vanquished Congressional opponent Helen Douglas branded him "Tricky Dicky.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even though I was an adult during the times of Kennedy and Nikon, this book filled in many of the details .Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Every four years, we see a revving up of the presidential race, and dozens of men and women are feted as potential candidates. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robert Bolton
Chris Matthews presents a surprisingly balanced view of the two principals. He is not so laudatory of Kennedy that it seems slanted, nor he is so dismissive of Nixon that it... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Rick Mayo
If you are a historical political junkie as I am this is quite informative AND entertaining reading!Published 15 months ago by DrKimCrawford
The complicated relationship between Nixon and Kennedy is very interesting.
I realized, reading this book, that I am not able to handle the truth.
I suggest you read all of Chris Matthews books in chronological order. I did not and in some of the books we does take the liberty of using material from other books. Read morePublished on May 18, 2014 by Bruce Olitzky
I had no idea there was this intense rivalry between the two or that Nixon was so obsessed with the Kennedys so much so that Watergate could be directly traced to this paranoia,... Read morePublished on April 15, 2014 by Jerri Libert