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Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

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Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America Cover

ISBN13: 9780743243025
ISBN10: 0743243021
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"Any book that rolls Woodstock and Watergate, the death of RFK and the Tet Offensive, Jane Fonda and George Wallace, and a cast of thousands more into a mere 800 pages or so is bound to sprawl and sag a bit, to rush too quickly through some topics and linger too long with others. Even so, Nixonland reads marvelously. Perlstein has the rare gift of being able to weave social, political, and cultural history into a single seamless narrative....And he has the eye of a great documentarian, fastening not only on the obvious historical set pieces (Kent State, Watts, Attica), but on the not-so-obvious ones as well." Ross Douthat, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Told with urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America's turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to seize and hold the presidency.

Perlstein's epic account begins in the blood and fire of the 1965 Watts riots, nine months after Lyndon Johnson's historic landslide victory over Barry Goldwater appeared to herald a permanent liberal consensus in the United States. Yet the next year, scores of liberals were tossed out of Congress, America was more divided than ever, and a disgraced politician was on his way to a shocking comeback: Richard Nixon.

Between 1965 and 1972, America experienced no less than a second civil war. Out of its ashes, the political world we know now was born. It was the era not only of Nixon, Johnson, Spiro Agnew, Hubert H. Humphrey, George McGovern, Richard J. Daley, and George Wallace but Abbie Hoffman, Ronald Reagan, Angela Davis, Ted Kennedy, Charles Manson, John Lindsay, and Jane Fonda. There are tantalizing glimpses of Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, and even of two ambitious young men named Karl Rove and William Clinton — and a not so ambitious young man named George W. Bush.

Cataclysms tell the story of Nixonland:

  • A Angry blacks burning down their neighborhoods in cities across the land as white suburbanites defend home and hearth with shotguns
  • A The student insurgency over the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention
  • A The fissuring of the Democratic Party into warring factions manipulated by the dirty tricks of Nixon and his Committee to Re-Elect the President
  • A Richard Nixon pledging a new dawn of national unity, governing more divisively than any president before him, then directing a criminal conspiracy, the Watergate cover-up, from the Oval Office
Then, in November 1972, Nixon, harvesting the bitterness and resentment born of America's turmoil, was reelected in a landslide even bigger than Johnson's 1964 victory, not only setting the stage for his dramatic 1974 resignation but defining the terms of the ideological divide that characterizes America today.

Filled with prodigious research and driven by a powerful narrative, Rick Perlstein's magisterial account of how America divided confirms his place as one of our country's most celebrated historians.

Review:

"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

There is so much literature about various aspects of Richard Nixon — his foreign policy, his domestic policy, his rise to power, his time in power, his fall from power, his comeback, his relationship with Vice President Spiro Agnew, his trip to China — that it would seem difficult to find an original approach to the man. But, in "Nixonland," Rick Perlstein has come up with the novel and important... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"This is a terrific read. What a delight it is to discover the new generation of historians like Rick Perlstein not only getting history correct but giving us all fresh insights and understanding of it." John W. Dean Nixon's White House counsel

Review:

"Rick Perlstein has written a fascinating account of the rise of Richard Nixon and a persuasive argument that this angry, toxic man will always be part of the American landscape." Richard Reeves author of President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination

Review:

"Nixonland is a grand historical epic. Rick Perlstein has turned a story we think we know — American politics between the opposing presidential landslides of 1964 and 1972 — into an often surprising and always fascinating new narrative. This riveting book, full of colorful detail and great characters, brings back to life an astonishing era — and shines a new light on our own." Jeffrey Toobin author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Review:

"Rick Perlstein's Nixonland digs deep into a decisive period of our history and brings back a past that is all the scarier for its intense humanity. With a firm grasp on the larger meaning of countless events and personalities, many of them long forgotten, Perlstein superbly shows how paranoia and innuendo flowed into the mainstream of American politics after 1968, creating divisive passions that have survived for decades." Sean Wilentz Princeton University, author of The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Rick Perlstein was born in Wisconsin in 1969. He writes about history and current affairs for publications including The Washington Post, The New York Observer, Feed, and The Nation. He won the National Endowment for the Humanities' most prestigious grant for independent scholars. Perlstein lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface

BOOK I

1 Hell in the City of Angels

2 The Orthogonian

3 The Stench

4 Ronald Reagan

5 Long, Hot Summer

6 School Was in Session...

7 Batting Average

BOOK II

8 The Bombing

9 Summer of Love

10 In Which a Cruise Ship Full of Governors Inspires Considerations on the Nature of Old and New Politics

11 Fed-up-niks

12 The Sky's the Limit

13 Violence

14 From Miami to the Siege of Chicago

15 Wednesday, August 28, 1968

16 Winning

BOOK III

17 The First One Hundred Days

18 Trust

19 If Gold Rust

20 The Presidential Offensive

21 The Polarization

22 Tourniquet

23 Mayday

24 Purity

25 Agnew's Election

BOOK IV

26 How to Survive the Debacle

27 Cruelest Month

28 Ping-Pong

29 The Coven

30 The Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and George Wallace

31 The Spring Offensive

32 Celebrities

33 In Which Playboy Bunnies, and Barbarella, and Tanya, Inspire Theoretical Considerations upon the Nature of Democracy

34 Not Half Enough

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Jorge, April 17, 2009 (view all comments by Jorge)
Nixonland is Rick Perlstein's follow-up to "Before the Storm", which focused largely on Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign. Though I preferred Perlstein's earlier book this one is pretty damn good. I was born in the 1980s and thus have no first-hand knowledge of what was going on in the 60s and early 70s. Perlstein does a very good job at drawing a vivid portrait of the state of the union at that period. After reading this book, I felt like I had learned a thing or two about why things happened the way they did--why the backlash against civil rights came about, why conservatism reemerged as it did after Goldwater's disastrous campaign, why Nixon managed to become so popular and how he helped define the political landscape.

The book doesn't quite manage the cohesion of its predecessor, though Nixonland manages to paint an accurate and messy picture of America during the Nixon era. It's quite readable, and the detail on display here is impressive.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
ann-locates, April 22, 2008 (view all comments by ann-locates)
Perlstein tries hard to allow reader to discern truth but sublimal message comes through anyway.
When writing about events that many can still remember watching on television, media hype and political posturing have left a generation able to tell it like it is but somehow not like it was.
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(8 of 22 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743243025
Subtitle:
The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
Author:
Perlstein, Rick
Publisher:
Scribner
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Political Process - Elections
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Subject:
Government - Executive Branch
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - 20th Century/60s
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20080513
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
896
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Nixon, Richard M.
History and Social Science » US History » US Presidency

Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 896 pages Scribner - English 9780743243025 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Any book that rolls Woodstock and Watergate, the death of RFK and the Tet Offensive, Jane Fonda and George Wallace, and a cast of thousands more into a mere 800 pages or so is bound to sprawl and sag a bit, to rush too quickly through some topics and linger too long with others. Even so, Nixonland reads marvelously. Perlstein has the rare gift of being able to weave social, political, and cultural history into a single seamless narrative....And he has the eye of a great documentarian, fastening not only on the obvious historical set pieces (Kent State, Watts, Attica), but on the not-so-obvious ones as well." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "This is a terrific read. What a delight it is to discover the new generation of historians like Rick Perlstein not only getting history correct but giving us all fresh insights and understanding of it."
"Review" by , "Rick Perlstein has written a fascinating account of the rise of Richard Nixon and a persuasive argument that this angry, toxic man will always be part of the American landscape."
"Review" by , "Nixonland is a grand historical epic. Rick Perlstein has turned a story we think we know — American politics between the opposing presidential landslides of 1964 and 1972 — into an often surprising and always fascinating new narrative. This riveting book, full of colorful detail and great characters, brings back to life an astonishing era — and shines a new light on our own."
"Review" by , "Rick Perlstein's Nixonland digs deep into a decisive period of our history and brings back a past that is all the scarier for its intense humanity. With a firm grasp on the larger meaning of countless events and personalities, many of them long forgotten, Perlstein superbly shows how paranoia and innuendo flowed into the mainstream of American politics after 1968, creating divisive passions that have survived for decades."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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