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If I could only give one book, it'd be Rick Perlstein's Nixonland. And I'd include a warning with it — something along the lines of, "This hilarious, cringe-inducing chronicle of Nixon's rise to power and the way it warped, mutated, and otherwise infected the American psyche is more readable than Wolfe, more horrifying than Ellroy, and more hallucinatory than Thompson." And it's all straight reporting. We lived, collectively, through a David Lynch film and never knew it.
Make sure you've got a couple of days free, because once you start, you'll white-knuckle the ride to its conclusion.
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Patton Oswalt is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and author. His most recent book is Zombie Spaceship Wasteland.
Books mentioned in this post
Patton Oswalt is the author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland