From one of America's most talented historians comes a brilliant new account of Richard Nixon--set against the violent passions of America's 1960s Civil War--that reveals the riveting backstory to the red state/blue state resentments that divide the nation today. Illustrated.From one of America's most talented historians comes a brilliant new account of Richard Nixon--set against the violent passions of America's 1960s Civil War--that reveals the riveting backstory to the red state/blue state resentments that divide the nation today. Illustrated.Read Less
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Rick Perlstein has written a phenomenal account of, largely, the years between 1964 and 1972. Why those years? Because in '64, LBJ won the election with about 62% of the vote, a crushing margin. Just eight years later, Nixon did the same thing - for, of course, the other party. What happened in those eight years to switch the national sentiment?
Lots of things, and while many of them have to do with the changing world (Vietnam, Civil Rights), many others were the direct result of Nixon style politics (which, Perlstein and others charge, create a different world, aka Nixonland.)
What's fascinating about the book is how many details a casual observer (or relative youngster) forget - that Watergate broke BEFORE the '72 election, for example.
What's haunting is that you could replace the names from this book with a slew of real people from today's political world and it would read like an analysis of today's politics. And what's sad is when you see people decrying the state of politics for the same reasons they are talking about today. At least one way to read this book (and it seems to be Perlstein's way, based on the last sentence of the book) is that not much has changed, and we are still living in Nixonland.
Truly an important, impressive book and well worth your time.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-03-10 Perlstein, winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, provides a compelling account of Richard Nixon as a masterful harvester of negative energy, turning the turmoil of the 1960s into a ladder to political notoriety. Perlstein's key narrative begins at about the time of the Watts riots, in the shadow of Lyndon Johnson's overwhelming 1964 victory at the polls against Goldwater, which left America's conservative movement broken. Through shrewdly selected anecdotes, Perlstein demonstrates the many ways Nixon used riots, anti-Vietnam War protests, the drug culture and other displays of unrest as an easy relief against which to frame his pitch for his narrow win of 1968 and landslide victory of 1972. Nixon spoke of solid, old-fashioned American values, law and order and respect for the traditional hierarchy. In this way, says Perlstein, Nixon created a new dividing line in the rhetoric of American political life that remains with us today. At the same time, Perlstein illuminates the many demons that haunted Nixon, especially how he came to view his political adversaries as "enemies" of both himself and the nation and brought about his own downfall. 16 pages of b&w photos. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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