Going into this book, I knew 3 things about Richard Nixon. He was a Republican. He was a liar. He resigned in the middle of the mother of all political scandals. These 3 facts I gleaned from reading All The President's Men in high school.
This book gave depth and character to not only Nixon, but all the various agitators of the 60s and 70s. It explained quite a lot about why my uncle, a veteran, is still angry about Vietnam. It gave context to that swift-boat nonsense from the Kerry presidential campaign that I didn't understand when it happened. It revealed the origins of the current bugaboos of the Republican party: Pat Buchanan, Karl Rove, Chuck Grassley, to name a few. Like the Iliad, it was epic in scope and stopped just shy of where you thought it was going.
I also really enjoyed the narrator. His tone may have been slightly less than neutral and he may have mispronounced things, but this material had the potential to be mind-numbingly dry in audio format, and I enjoyed the injections of personality and drama.
I loved this book, but I understand the criticisms in other reviews. It's written in the first person, and the narrator, a 17 year old show off, takes a bit of getting used to. Ms. Card's treatment of the text is pitch perfect and goes a long way toward making the very stylized prose manageable.
I suspect this is a book you have to listen to twice. The first two thirds of the book feel like pure atmosphere, until you hit the last straightaway and suddenly everything that went before becomes critical to the most minute detail. If you give up before things start making sense, you're not going to like it.
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