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)
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
I wasn't born until 1984- so I didn't experience the Vietnam and Nixon era first hand. This book is a great listen for younger generations who didn't live through the time period but want to find out more about it.
It is very comprehensive and Rick Perlstein does a good job of sticking to the facts without any political leaning.
Nixonland triggered many memories, and provided information and analysis of events, trends of milestones and headlines now largely forgotten. Its value, regardless of your own political perspective, is as background for understanding the forces at work in current society. This is true be it for presidential races, debates over taxes and funding priorities, and current wars. This is not simply a biography of Nixon, but of an era. The author is largely descriptive vs judgmental of people and events, and when he is judgmental, it is applied to all in similar measure. The foolhardiness and greed of all in the political spectrum is noted, as well as the courage and talent of a few. Highly detailed, yet it reads/is delivered like a story. Some events and moments are hard to listen to, because they are so tragic: Riots in Newark, My Lai and Calley, LBJ and Nixon lies to the public, manipulation of public opinion by both parties, the pain and confusion of regular people in the face of cultural change, racial inequity, and the changing social contract of America. A compelling and thoughtful book, it demands listening with an open mind, as there is information and opinion neither the Right nor the Left want to hear.
I'm fascinated with all the insight into the inner workings of American Politics. So sad. The disappointment is the frequent mispronunciation by this reader. Many of the names are slaughtered, but the story is captivating.
Perlstein's account of the rise of Nixon is thorough and engaging. It was a real pleasure learning about the ideologies and the political landscape of a time that is far removed from mine. Before listening to the book, I assumed it would be about the rise of Nixon. What surprised me the most was learning about cultural and political landscape that was fracturing American during this time. I would highly recommend Nixonland to all the political and cultural junkies out there.
Well done. It's amazing how corrupt and morally bankrupt Nixon was. How many soldiers and innocent civilians died waiting for Nixon's "secret plan" to end the war? As far as Watergate, anyone who says "every politician does the same" should read this book. Nixon takes paranoia, corruption, and just plain evil to new dimensions.
I agree with the other listeners that mispronounced names is a distraction. Thorne also comes off as annoyed, incredulous and or sarcastic in some of the passages he reads, which amplifies any nuances of bias the book (justifiably, I think) has.
That said, this book fills in a great many details about things I experienced as a kid watching adults react to what was going on. It rounded out my understanding of a remarkably tumultuous time, which in turn has helped me to understand what has happened in the recent years by providing a contextual understanding of present-day republican 'conservative' politics. In turn, I now feel better equipped to understand what is likely to come up in the future as political factions rebrand, craft new marketing campaigns, and formulate the next generation of belief-based reality. (sorry, i guess the current economic environment is getting to me!).
After listening, I couldn't help but ask myself 'what is Sarah Palin and company really up to?'... ;)
Whew. You'll find yourself saying this as you skip ahead trying to find something about Nixon in this book. Granted there's a lot of surroundings that pertain to the 1960s that will make Nixon's path clearer - but for pete's sake, this book is mired in the details. Way too much illiteration on "this riot", and "that riot". Tons and tons of facts, but I wanted more Nixon!
It's not difficult to vilify a dead politician. It's also not difficult to find faults in any public figure. But Perlstein's book is disturbingly biased to the point that one wonders if the bent on reality is intended to destroy instead of report. I doubt there is a politician since ancient Rome that is without personality traits that the average American of the 21st Century would not find disturbing.
For Perlstein to write such a grossly biased document is a greater sign of Perlstein's character than it is of Nixon's. Perlstein is obviously hateful and grossly dishonest in his focus of an American President as if none of the liberal presidents of American history were somehow products of a miracle godliness to which Nixon (and any conservative) is unworthy of.
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