Synopses & Reviews
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
- Angry blacks burning down their neighborhoods in cities across the land as white suburbanites defend home and hearth with shotguns
- 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
- The fissuring of the Democratic Party into warring factions manipulated by the "dirty tricks" of Nixon and his Committee to Re-Elect the President
- 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.
"A richly detailed descent into the inferno -- that is, the years when Richard Milhous Nixon, 'a serial collector of resentments,' ruled the land." -- andlt;iandgt;Kirkus Reviewsandlt;/iandgt;
"Rick Perlstein's andlt;iandgt;Nixonlandandlt;/iandgt; 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 andlt;iandgt;The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008andlt;/iandgt;
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
"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 andlt;iandgt;President Reagan: The Triumph of Imaginationandlt;/iandgt;
"The mest book written about the 1960s." -- andlt;iandgt;Newsweekandlt;/iandgt;
"andlt;iandgt;Nixonlandandlt;/iandgt; 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 andlt;iandgt;The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Courtandlt;/iandgt;
"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
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.
About the Author
Rick Perlstein is the author of andlt;iandgt;Nixonland: The Rise of a Presidentandlt;/iandgt; andlt;iandgt;and the Fracturing of Americaandlt;/iandgt;, a andlt;iandgt;New York Timesandlt;/iandgt; bestseller picked as one of the best nonfiction books of the year by over a dozen publications; andlt;iandgt;Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensusandlt;/iandgt;,andnbsp;which won the 2001 andlt;iandgt;Los Angelesandnbsp;Timesandlt;/iandgt; Bookandnbsp;Award for history and appeared on the best books of the year lists of andlt;iandgt;Theandlt;/iandgt; andlt;iandgt;New York Timesandlt;/iandgt;,andnbsp;andlt;iandgt;Theandlt;/iandgt; andlt;iandgt;Washington Postandlt;/iandgt;, and the andlt;iandgt;Chicago Tribuneandlt;/iandgt;.andnbsp;Hisandnbsp;essays and book reviewsandnbsp;have been published in andlt;iandgt;The New Yorker,andnbsp;andlt;/iandgt;andlt;iandgt;Theandlt;/iandgt; andlt;iandgt;New York Times,andnbsp;andlt;/iandgt;andlt;iandgt;Theandlt;/iandgt; andlt;iandgt;Washington Post, Theandnbsp;Nationandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Theandnbsp;Village Voiceandlt;/iandgt;,andnbsp;and andlt;iandgt;Slateandlt;/iandgt;, among others. He hasandnbsp;received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for independent scholars. He lives in Chicago.
Table of Contents
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
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
12 The Sky's the Limit
14 From Miami to the Siege of Chicago
15 Wednesday, August 28, 1968
17 The First One Hundred Days
19 If Gold Rust
20 The Presidential Offensive
21 The Polarization
25 Agnew's Election
26 How to Survive the Debacle
27 Cruelest Month
29 The Coven
30 The Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and George Wallace
31 The Spring Offensive
33 In Which Playboy Bunnies, and Barbarella, and Tanya, Inspire Theoretical Considerations upon the Nature of Democracy
34 Not Half Enough