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)
A decent history that illuminates the recent origins of the factionalism we see now in our tea party/red states/blue states world. I'd forgotten the demagoguery of Agnew, and the vileness of Reagan and Nixon.
That said, the production values were TERRIBLE. It would be easy to blame the narrator, but its the producer's job to tell him when he is mispronouncing words. And the editing, with weird silences and bad other bad editing is amateurish.
But it is history everyone should be reminded of these days.
Perlstein covers riots, protests and violence in the 60s and 70s in great detail - because they were amazing in and of themselves, and because of his contention that civil unrest fractured America. Although his lengthy descriptions of civil unrest sometimes become tedius, the extent of civil unrest stunned me (I'm in my 20s), and convincingly prove his argument.
I also thought that Nixon was rather liberal for his talks with China and his creation of the EPA. But Perlstein shows how Nixon's idealogy and talking points contribute greatly to modern conservatism. Perlstein also shows how cynically Nixon used the war in Vietnam for political purposes.
You may be slightly overwhelmed by all the details in this book, but Nixonland is nevertheless extremely interesting for those interested in history and politics.
Learning about 'history' I lived through
The accounts concerning Cornell and Ithaca
Yes! Indignation! I knew it was bad but it seems that there is not even One Bit of Integrity in our Political System. They Literally ALL are Crooks! Both sides inside and out Fringes included!
They write and pass the laws and yet obviously expecting them to NOT apply to them!
I just wish he had done a few more hours worth to cover all of Nixon's Political Life as it was so close. But yes, might have been more like another 20 hours due to all of Watergate - But I WOULD listen to 50+ hours for that plus his after resignation Politics.
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.
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.
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
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