Patrick J. Buchanan, best-selling author and senior advisor to Richard Nixon, tells the definitive story of Nixon's resurrection from the political graveyard and his rise to the presidency.
After suffering stinging defeats in the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy, and in the 1962 California gubernatorial election, Nixon's career was declared dead by Washington press and politicians alike. Yet on January 20, 1969, just six years after he had said his political life was over, Nixon would stand taking the oath of office as 37th President of the United States. How did Richard Nixon resurrect a ruined career and reunite a shattered and fractured Republican Party to capture the White House?
In The Greatest Comeback, Patrick J. Buchanan - who, beginning in January 1966, served as one of two staff members to Nixon, and would become a senior advisor in the White House after 1968 - gives a firsthand account of those crucial years in which Nixon reversed his political fortunes during a decade marked by civil rights protests, social revolution, The Vietnam War, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, urban riots, campus anarchy, and the rise of the New Left. Using over 1,000 of his own personal memos to Nixon, with Nixon's scribbled replies back, Buchanan gives listeners an insider's view as Nixon gathers the warring factions of the Republican party - from the conservative base of Barry Goldwater to the liberal wing of Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney, to the New Right legions of an ascendant Ronald Reagan - into the victorious coalition that won him the White House. How Richard Nixon united the party behind him may offer insights into how the Republican Party today can bring together its warring factions.
The Greatest Comeback is an intimate portrayal of the 37th President and a fascinating fly-on-the-wall account of one of the most remarkable American political stories of the 20th century.
©2014 Patrick J. Buchanan (P)2014 Random House Audio
The narration was excellent. The only person who could do it better is Buchanon himself. I think the print version would be cool to see the pictures of these men during that era, but otherwise I don't think anything is lost in the audio.
1. The tempo of the book is much like that of "Jack, We Hardley Knew Ye" - by Kenny oddonell and Dave Powers. However, while Buchanon seems to admire Nixon as a politician, he does not worship Nixon personally in the way the Kennedy men did JFK.2. The subject matter overlaps closely with "Nixon Land," and other of Ron Perlsteins books. But these books are quite complimentary.
Riding shotgun across the Repunlican Right during the heart of 1960s with a Tricky Dick and a young Pat Buchanan.
Worth the credit
This insider's view of Nixon's political comeback gives us a glimpse of an era when successful politicians (both Democratic and Republicans) tried to build coalitions around the center rather than appeal to the extremes of their respective parties.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
When I saw the author was Patrick Buchanan, I remembered him as an aide to Richard Nixon, so I understood from the beginning the book would have a favorable bias. The book covers the time frame from the defeat by JFK for the presidency in 1960 and the lost to Pat Brown for governor of California in 1962 to his winning the presidency in 1968. This time frame to borrow from Winston Churchill was his “wilderness years”.
The GOP was split between the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater hard-liners and the more moderate Republicans represented by Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney. Nixon started courting the conservative press and laying down strategy for helping the GOP recoup losses in the mid-term election of 1966. This strategy included reassuring law and order, endorsing Rockefeller for Governor of New York, fashioning a new Republican Party of the South that rested on human rights not bigotry.
Buchanan provides an insider’s account of how Nixon made his comeback. Buchanan bolsters his tale with copious evidence, not just his first hand memoires as a major participant but also abundant new clips and archival material. The book is thoughtful, well-written and entertaining full of intrigue and gamesmanship of politics. I did note the book revealed time and again that Nixon chose to attack opponents rather than develop solutions for problems facing the country at the time. As we are at the fortieth anniversary of Nixon resignation I assume more books about Nixon will be forthcoming. Arthur Morey narrated the book.
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