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.
©2008 Rick Perlstein. All rights reserved.; (P)2009 BBC Audio
"A richly detailed descent into the inferno - that is, the years when Richard Milhous Nixon, 'a serial collector of resentments,' ruled the land." (Kirkus Reviews)
Unfortunately the author doesn't explore his psychology in depth after his time in college, and the book ends before the watergate hearings.
Seems that the author wanted to combine biography and sociology and lost a bit of nuance as a result.
Also the misuse of the word 'peroration' drove me crazy.
Comprehensive and fast-paced bio that follows Richard Nixon's life and psyche, and how he was a the center of the astonishing sea change from the Democrats landslide in 1964 to the Republican landslide in 1972. In revealing detail, buttressed by research into the infamous White House tapes, Nixon is even more evil than I remembered.
The giant flaw in this book is the narrator's mispronunciation of dozens of words and names that made me cringe more often than I could count. Perhaps he (and his director?) are too young to remember the names of Eisenhower's Postmaster General, or Sander Vanocur, or other minor characters in history, so they might be forgiven for mangling their names. But Dean Acheson? Really? Hardly obscure. And Antonin SKA-li-a? The resort in Miami is the dor-AL, not the DOR-al. The "pols" (slang for politicians) are pols, not poles. The operating theory seemed to be, if you didn't know how to say it, guess and keep on reading. There were many, many more that made the listening experience painful. Careless to the point of unprofessionalism.
That being said, the content of the book is first-rate, so if you don't mind the reading blunders, get the book anywaay.
Overall could have been great, but after the 4,543rd anecdote about how heated the late sixties were, you don't need another. I felt bludgeoned with side stories.
Picture a man reading through a dumpster full of 40-year-old newspapers, in a histrionic voice, occasionally intoning something like "two irreconcilable camps -- Nixonland," as if that were meant as penetrating analysis. Overlong, overkill, very shallow analytically. The reader faithfully conveys the author's apparent intent, unfortunately. But he does make some really funny mispronunciations. My favorite was "suede-o" for pseudo. Really.
On the good side, the author's approach may help you get into the mindset of the media consumer of the period. I also learned a few things-- the Yippies were pretty clever and funny, if sometimes in very bad taste, and some of the origin stories of conservative superheroes of today, such as Scalia, and Rove, who was apparently a dirty trickster from the cradle, according to the author.
The divisions in our country played upon so expertly by Richard Nixon continue to plague us. The various cultures of resentment that developed throughout Nixon's career are nicely brought out in this work. The narrative is a bit uneven, due to the author's fondness for lists of contemporaneous events. Aside from that, the overall story is compellingly told and really does make clear the damage done to our nation by Nixon in his never-ending quest to get even.
This is a fascinating book! Didn't want to stop listening. The author is intelligent, lucid, a brilliant and entertaining historian. Too bad the narrator just doesn't get it. All is delivered in a monotonous, semi-ironic, rather manic style. Worst of all, he mispronounces big words as if he had never heard them, and names, etc. etc. "Thruston" for Thurston, "Huston" for "Houston," "Tune in, turn in, drop out" for Leary's famous "Tune in, turn ON, drop out," and on and on.
This is not to recommend NOT to get the book -- the history, the personality of Nixon and others, is compelling. But it really ought to have a reader who at least proof reads himself, and understands the material a little better.
It's much too long to do that.
I just wanted to learn more about Richard Nixon, his presidency and the history of the United States during that era. This was a very boring and overly detailed account of Nixon's political life, with so many details that provide little to no educational substance. Maybe better suited for a Political Science grad-student, than someone interested in political/presidential history. This is not a historical account of the Nixon years nor is it a biography.
Narrative makes the world go round.
This listen contributed more to my understanding of the United States than any other book I've encountered to date. Although written from a definite point of view, the author does not disguise his bias -- and as the adage goes, every view is from a point.
I became interested in learning more about Nixon through the Watergate novel. Rather than making me "hate" Nixon, this study further humanizes him.
Perlstein is able to sustain a strong narrative though out the 36+ hours. This is biography, chock full of social history, that reads like a novel. In fact, it's more a bio of Nixonland than of the man himself.
There are mispronunciations as noted in other reviews (and maybe my Canadian ears missed many), but overall, I thought the narrator was very easy on the ears, which is more important in such a long haul.
I can't imagine ever having read a book this book in print form. Perhaps audiobooks will do as much to promote Global understanding as the world trotting Kissinger!
This is a generally solid narration, but there are two small problems with the recording. The first is that this ENORMOUS book is divided into only five files. If you accidentally jump "back" to the start of a file, you might have to fast-forward a long time to find your original place.
The second problem is that while the narration is generally solid, there are some jarring mispronunciations scattered throughout. Two such errors that come to mind immediately are Macalaster College and the last name of newsman Sander Vanocur. There were several others, but I did not think to make a list as I was listening.
Absent the previously detailed pronunciation errors, this would have been a 5-star review from me. I found it to be an enjoyable and educational account and recommend this audio book to others Audible listeners.
This is a wonderful book in terms of historical context, lively pace and detailed, if often troubling, insights into political intrigue, social conditions and the horrific costs of war and racial prejudice. I agree with many other reviewers and ask that the listener draw clear distinctions between the quality of Mr. Perlstein's painstaking work and more than a few mispronunciations by the otherwise competent narrator, which, while not forgivable, can (and I submit, should) be set aside.
The narrator, Mr. Thorne, is an excellent speaker, easy to listen to with a nice, rolling yet unhurried pace, generally excellent inflection and the ability to bring the appropriate tone to both situations and characters, without the need to engage in excessive dramatization, (i.e. no major changes of voice). Undercutting an otherwise solid performance are the glaring mispronunciations including the names of people, places and things, all of notable historical significance else Mr. Perlstein would not have included them in the manuscript. Proper pronunciation being so basic to the production of high quality audio books and, with historical documentaries demanding a particularly high level of attention to detail, I am given to wonder if anyone deigned give more than a cursory listen prior to distribution.
I only partially fault narrator, Thorne. As a spoken word professional, pronunciation homework is clearly in order prior to such a major undertaking. Still, quality control is the responsibility of the audio producer. Shame on said producer for failing to bring Rick Perlstein's outstanding work to its full audio potential. This is, nevertheless, a worthy, compelling and engrossing documentary of the period.
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