I really enjoy learning about both American history and Nixon in particular, and this book certainly did not disappoint. It presented a strong narrative of the 1950s through the early 1970s, filled with well-crafted descriptions of timelines and events, and populated by the interesting characters of the era. However, the main premise veered a bit too conspiratorial for my tastes at time. Nixon, the mastermind, was posited as pulling the strings behind many of the biggest events of the era. It was easy to buy at times, but a lot of important figures and their influence on events were pushed aside in favor of a Nixon over all interpretation. Additionally, the main metaphor of the book -- that Nixon, an "Orthogonian," was paranoid of and vengeful upon "Franklins," or upper class rich kids who had everything handed to them, was briefly enlightening, but more often simply annoying and over-simplified. Nixon, whom I truly believe was a monster, was nothing if not a very complicated monster.
Insider details about Nixon's crimes.
He read well and had a strong voice. He did mispronounce a considerable number of words, but the delivery was so good this was excusable.
Or, The American Mabuse
I grew up after the Nixon years, and so only know what I know about him from popular movies and TV. The book didn't paint too much of a different picture, but did fill in a lot of detail and complexity of the man and the times. The writing is engaging and not at all boring. I think I learned more about the times than the man.
I came of age during the historical period this book covers and I keep coming back to it over and over and keep finding things of interest. Worth a listen, I think. The narrator does a good job too. No problems there.
While the writer has a liberal slant, he does a fine job skewering the left and right when appropriate. As someone born after the 1960's, it is amazing the country survived the cycle of violence, assassination, and political bedlam of the decade, and its spillover into the 1970's.
Of particular note is the excellent performance by the narrator. While other reviewers have harped on his few mispronunciations, few have commented on the excellent manner he drives the action along. So many historical works are delivered at a funereal pace. Thorne has excellent pacing and the book flies by. I hope he gets a crack at other historical titles.
If you like recent political history this is a very good effort by the author. Brings together a diverse cast of characters all centered around Richard Nixon and his far reaching influence that is still evident today
Enjoyed the book but felt there were WAY too many names, dates, and details. I appreciated the perspective that was shown by including other events happening at the same time as Nixon's rise to presidency such as Attica, Charles Manson, and the Kennedy assassinations. That said, every name of every politician that ever worked for him seemed to extend the length of this book considerably. I kept listening for all 36 plus hours of this book as the topic was fascinating, but would have been fine without so many details and specifics.
organized, quick-paced, biased
Yes, on certain topics, but I would be better prepared for the cynical point of view.
This book is written strictly from a narrator's point of view. Mr. Thorne does a good job narrating, and sometimes succeeds in portraying actual voices where relevant. Good listen.
Tricky Dick, how social conditions allowed an abominable personality to climb to the pinnacle of American politics, then hurtle to the bottom.
I highly recommend this book to anyone under the age of 55. Since I lived through that period, and in California to boot, it was pretty much like a rerun. Mr. Perlstein gives fast pace, albeit, cynical coverage to everything from Communist scares, to race riots, to Watergate. The presentation is pretty negative and doesn't dwell on the few good things that did happen during the mid-20th century.
There are some interesting ideas in this book. Like showing how the southern strategy started with nixon and how todays republican party is more a product of Richard Nixon then Ronald Reagan. However I dont think you need 30 hours to make this point, and far too many times the author is reaching. For the author everything seems to go back to Richard Nixon from the tinkerings of Mayor Daily to southern waterhosing. And how the author transitions back to Richard Nixon after going off on a 30 minute rant about some obscure political detail by saying 'And there was Richard Nixon' with the word nixon pressed is really annoying.
A thorough and detailed history of a fascinating time. The writer combines social, economic and political history into a seamless tapestry that recaptures the flavor of an era. As someone who lived through this period, I thoroughly enjoyed remembering all the energy and quirkiness of the hippie era. I