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Richard Nixon Audiobook

Richard Nixon: The Life

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Publisher's Summary

Brilliantly researched, authoritatively crafted by a prize-winning biographer, this is the Nixon we've been waiting for.

Richard Nixon opens with young navy lieutenant "Nick" Nixon returning from the Pacific and setting his cap at Congress, an idealistic dreamer seeking to build a better world. Yet amid the turns of that now legendary 1946 campaign, Nixon's finer attributes quickly gave way to unapologetic ruthlessness. It is a stunning overture to John A. Farrell's magisterial portrait of a man who embodied postwar American cynicism.

Within four years of that first win, Nixon would be a US senator, in six the vice president of the United States of America. "Few came so far, so fast, and so alone," Farrell writes. Finally president, Nixon's staff was full of bright young men who devised forward-thinking reforms addressing health care, poverty, civil rights, and protection of the environment. It was a fine legacy, but Nixon cared little for it. He aspired to make his mark on the world stage instead, and his 1972 opening to China was the first great crack in the Cold War.

Nixon had another legacy, too: an America divided and polarized. It was Nixon who launched the McCarthy era, who set South against North, and who spurred the silent majority to despise and distrust the country's elites. He persuaded Americans to gnaw, as he did, on grievances - and to look at one another as enemies. Finally, in August 1974, after two years of the mesmerizing intrigue and scandal known as Watergate, Nixon became the only president to resign in disgrace.

Richard Nixon is an enthralling tour de force biography of our darkest president, one that reviewers will hail as a defining portrait, and the full life of Nixon listeners have awaited.

©2017 John A. Farrell (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Farrell's blockbuster portrait of Nixon is revelatory - filled with fresh reporting shedding new light on the roots of our own dark political moment. He shows that dirty tricks, October Surprises, and anti-elitist resentment were among the gifts Nixon bequeathed to our own presidential politics." (Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right)

"John A. Farrell has once again delivered a rich, precisely written portrait of the past to help us understand the present. He traces the origins and turning points of one of the most complex, complicated and fascinating presidents of the modern age with flair and narrative skill. Each page is a joy to read, on the way to a very satisfying whole." (John Dickerson, moderator of CBS' Face the Nation and author of Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History)

"Richard Nixon's political career has all the nooks and crannies of an English muffin: the red-baiting of the early campaigns; Checkers; the Great Debates of 1960; the comeback in '68; the inheritance and horror of Vietnam; the historic opening to China; the shame of Watergate. In Richard Nixon, John A. Farrell is tough and unyielding, yet gives his subject a fair hearing through each gripping episode. 'I'm not a quitter,' Nixon once protested, and this grand, indispensable book proves him right, right to the end." (Chris Matthews, author of Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Post-war America)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Tad Davis 06-04-17
    Tad Davis 06-04-17
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    "Well balanced and proportioned"

    John Farrell has written a well-documented and reasonably balanced biography of one of our most controversial presidents. He covers everything from the lemon farm and the "house my father built," through Watergate and on to Nixon's rehabilitation and death. In between he gives a full accounting of Helen Gahagan Douglas, Jerry Voorhees, Alger Hiss, Dwight Eisenhower, and the Plumbers. He maintains an admirable sense of proportion throughout.

    Richard Nixon is one of my hobbies; I lived through his terms both as Vice President and President, and devoured Watergate books in the years since. And I have to give Farrell credit for rectifying some of my ideas about Nixon. As evil as some of his actions were - John Dean couldn't have selected a more damning set of quotes from the Watergate tapes than Farrell provides - he comes across here as a human being rather than a mythological beast.

    I found only one passage where Farrell's sense of balance seems to leave him. He attacks the prosecution of Nixon's top aides - Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, and others - as the corrupt product of a kangaroo court, charging collusion between prosecutors and judge, and decrying the jail sentences that were handed down. What kind of justice system, he asks, would send somebody like Donald Segretti to jail and let John Dean off the hook? Yet Segretti and Dean both pled guilty and both spent four months in prison. That seems pretty fair to me.

    Dan Woren provides a brisk narration, maintaining the pace and engagement throughout. I enjoyed it a lot. I'll mention one small point - a point that many audiobooks about Nixon get wrong, but that Woren gets right. Gordon Strachan was a minor player in Watergate, but he deserves to have his name pronounced correctly. His last name rhymes with "brawn," not with "bacon."

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne R. 05-30-17
    Suzanne R. 05-30-17
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    "Listen with an open mind"

    Being a teenage and "twenty something " during the Vietnam war and Nixon years, I hesitantly chose to this book. With deliberate objective listening, I was surprised to feel a sense of empathy for this troubled and misguided man. Even with that strained understanding, I still cannot muster enough empathy to overcome my contempt for some of his decisions and actions. If you can be open minded, it is worth a read or listen and may even enlighten on the importance of character and shared values in those we elect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lesley 04-24-17
    lesley 04-24-17 Member Since 2010
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    "A page-turner with depth"

    This biography is thorough and fair, yet leaves the reader as puzzled as ever about Nixon's personality. I don't think the man will ever be explainable beyond a conclusion that he was amoral and incapable of empathy, and childhood losses don't seem to really explain that. He seemed to have moments of caring and a sense of fair play...but then would turn on a dime and calmly eviscerate a political enemy. I can't say there were many new facts in this book - except for the unconscionable dealing with North Vietnam that extended the war 3 more years and cost 20,000 additional lives so Nixon could get elected. But the book flows and the darkening of his character continues inexorably.
    Reader is wonderful except for a couple of mispronounced words and a very odd tic of saying long vowel sounds in a strangulated way; reminded me of Bullwinkle of Rocky and __. It became distracting for me because the reader has a resonant and pleasant voice, and he reads with much expression, keeping the story moving. But then there will be a phrase like "green fees" (think Bullwinkle) and I cringe.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John N. Berg Portland, Oregon 06-16-17
    John N. Berg Portland, Oregon 06-16-17 Member Since 2014

    buddhapop

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    "Great book about a fascinating man."

    First off, the reader, Mr. Woren was excellent. That makes such a difference in the enjoyment of the book.

    If you're looking for a book about Nixon that doesn't have an axe to grind against him or want to paint over his flaws, this is it. This book is helped also by the recent access to documents regarding the Nixon Whitehouse. The author does an excellent job of putting the facts out there and telling the compelling story of Nixon's life, but ultimately lets the reader make up his own mind and draw his own conclusions. Very well done!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Townsdin 05-17-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Masterful political biography"

    Great book, terribly relevant now more than ever. I recommend it very highly. Nixon is one of the most complex and fascinating figures in American political history and this bob k captures him like nothing I've read before.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Harley 05-01-17
    Harley 05-01-17
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    "One interesting man and President"

    As a baby boomer in college when Nixon was President I had a one dimensional and negative opinion of his term in office. This book was a great read and vividly described his gifts, achievements, and consequential personal flaws. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don J. Bravo 04-30-17
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    "Extremely well written, exhaustively researched!"

    Just finished this book. Extremely well written, particularly as to vocabulary and turn of phrase. Exhaustively researched! Does list and dwell on RN's accomplishments and attempts. However also plays armchair, amateur psychiatrist to RN's youth. Uses uneeded intentionally negative vocabulary to cite Nixon's faults. Lists some of RN's orders that were corrective of LBJ's (IE: the shower in the residence.) Worst of all, inserts his own commentary. When reading a book on Richard Nixon all I ask is for the arguments made be even-handed. If this is even handedness then perhaps I am expecting too much. That said, the author is indeed a smarter man than myself!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terrie ANNAPOLIS, MD, United States 04-27-17
    Terrie ANNAPOLIS, MD, United States 04-27-17 Member Since 2015
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    "The narrator made this biography unforgettable."

    The biography is excellent. Often a great book can be boring when read. Dan Widen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Lech 04-02-17
    Matt Lech 04-02-17
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    "better than the Evan Thomas bio"

    which has a similar scope, so if you're in the market for a general Nixon bio this is the one.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cmurrell 05-26-17
    cmurrell 05-26-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Balanced, With Sharp Observations and Discoveries"
    What made the experience of listening to Richard Nixon the most enjoyable?

    This is simply one of the best biographies I have ever read or listened to. It is balanced, for example, in that he praises Nixon's Civil Rights work helping to segregate schools in the South and to emphasize his decent WWII record (which Kennedy supporters misrepresented). His analysis of the Watergate affair is incredibly insightful, and is buttressed by many quotes from the President himself about his own culpability. The author captures the multi-faceted complexities of Nixon's personality, starting with a mother who never hugged him and a sometimes abusive father. The book is full of new discoveries, including Nixon finagling to stop the peace negotiations started by Johnson during the election (and lying about it to Johnson), which the author says was arguably the worst thing Nixon ever did. And what an incredible life Nixon had! The book is also remarkably current, given that Nixon had many populist leanings, as does our current president (though Nixon really was born in a poor family). The book is beautifully written; each sentence is elegantly crafted.


    What about Dan Woren’s performance did you like?

    Solid performance, well done.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had emotions of laughter, incredulity and sadness multiple times.


    Any additional comments?

    Awards are in the wings for this impressive work, and deservedly so.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr. E. Sheffield
    UK
    5/11/17
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    "Outstanding biography of the man"

    Too many biographies of men of consequence turn into histories of those events and times , not here. This is a portrait of the man from humble beginnings to the end.

    I have listened to about 15 books on the Nixon presidency and it was fresh to me to hear about the early days, first campaigns etc. We are treated to an exciting narrative of the Hiss scandal.

    This book was balanced and fair so unfortunately lacking in the justifiable hate for the man. Many people looking to satisfy a prejudice against him or for him will find plenty of material here to satisfy a preexisting bias but actually this is fine professional history. I noticed gaps such as Nixon's junkets in the wilderness years, his dark dealings with foreign powers especially Iran (see Oil Kings by Cooper on Audible) and the midnight prayer with Kissinger (see Nixon and Kissinger by Dalek on Audible). And was sad when we skip quickly through the Yom Kippur war. I wanted to see that but if it was that detailed it would be 100 hours long.

    Overall.. 5/5 for enjoyable sweep over a complex man. This is better for not being a history of the Nixon years, it is good to see it sticking to the man not the times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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