Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of by Rick Perlstein

By Rick Perlstein Review

In Nixonland Rick Perlstein tells a extra regularly occurring tale than the single he unearthed in his influential earlier ebook, Before the Storm, which argued that the beautiful good fortune of contemporary conservatism was once based in Goldwater's tremendous 1964 defeat. yet he makes it clean and relentlessly compelling, with obsessive unique examine and a gleefully slashing style--equal components Walter Winchell and Hunter S. Thompson--that's actual to the days. Perlstein is celebrated as a author at the left, yet his historian's empathies are excessive and unpredictable: he convincingly channels the resentment and rage on each side of the conflict strains and we could neither Nixon's cynicism nor the naivete of liberals like manhattan mayor John Lindsay off the hook. And whereas election-year readers might be reminded of the way a lot tamer our occasions are, they are going to additionally locate that the echoes of the period, and its continual nationwide divisions, nonetheless ring loud and transparent. --Tom Nissley

From Publishers Weekly

Starred overview. Perlstein, winner of a l. a. instances e-book Prize for Before the hurricane: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the yank Consensus, presents a compelling account of Richard Nixon as a masterful harvester of detrimental power, turning the turmoil of the Sixties right into a ladder to political notoriety. Perlstein's key narrative starts at in regards to the time of the Watts riots, within the shadow of Lyndon Johnson's overwhelming 1964 victory on the polls opposed to Goldwater, which left America's conservative circulation damaged. via shrewdly chosen anecdotes, Perlstein demonstrates the numerous methods Nixon used riots, antiVietnam warfare protests, the drug tradition and different monitors of unrest as a simple aid opposed to which to border his pitch for his slim win of 1968 and landslide victory of 1972. Nixon talked about sturdy, outdated American values, legislation and order and admire for the conventional hierarchy. during this means, says Perlstein, Nixon created a brand new dividing line within the rhetoric of yankee political lifestyles that continues to be with us this present day. whilst, Perlstein illuminates the various demons that haunted Nixon, specially how he got here to view his political adversaries as enemies of either himself and the country and taken approximately his personal downfall. sixteen pages of b&w photographs. (May)
Copyright Reed company info, a department of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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They would sleep there. They stayed up half the night talking. Nixon told Garment he would do anything, make any sacrifice, to get where he wanted to go. ” Scaling a pool-house wall was even, in its way, routine. Another time, in 1966, Garment found himself pulled into a locked stairwell by Nixon to avoid an inconveniently milling crowd before his introduction to a Midwestern county GOP fund-raiser. The boss had a general’s sensitivity to commanding time and space. He was especially meticulous about making dramatic entrances.

Eisenhower came out of retirement to campaign against the Kennedy-Johnson tax cut. But Lyndon Johnson passed that, too. And then there was the issue of civil rights. “Let this session of Congress be known as the session which did more for civil rights than the last hundred sessions combined,” Johnson intoned in his first State of the Union address. It was just five weeks after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, seven months after Kennedy, alarmed by a wave of civil rights uprisings sparked in Birmingham, Alabama, had introduced the most sweeping civil rights bill since Reconstruction.

American scholars, like liberals everywhere in early 1965, chose to bask in the sun. There had been violence on both sides in the presidential campaign—vandalism against campaign offices, civil rights activists and conservative partisans assaulting one another, death threats against the candidates. None of it was seen as a pattern. Watts was absorbed, six days after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, as a visitation from another planet. ” Lyndon Johnson cried in anguish. “How could it be? ” Los Angeles radio station KNX fired its most popular call-in host.

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