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)
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
The narrator was OK. I would not read another book by Perlstein.
The stick figure Nixon.
I lived through this time and remember it well. As a child, teenager, and young adult, I did not have a wider focus on events as they were happening. I had hoped that this book would provide some of that. I had hoped to listen to a carefully documented factual account but repeatedly encountered the author foisting his opinions off as if they were facts, and in place of facts. Regardless of whether his opinions are valid, when a purported writer of history provides opinions instead of facts, it is not history. Perlstein's point of view, a disdain of his subject, prevents him from writing history and instead writes a lengthy editorial. Stephen Ambrose was able to overcome this and wrote something more worthwhile.
I will make a point of NOT buying any books he narrates.
This seems to be a well-written book -- and I'm certainly interested in the topic -- so I might read the actual book sometime in the near future; but I couldn't deal with the narrator's bland style and his mispronunciation of so many names (and these were names of people I knew: he could be mispronouncing many other names and I just don't know the difference.
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
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.
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