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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."

    7 of 8 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.

    2 of 2 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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Giles 10-04-17
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    "good straightforward bio"

    This is a good thorough telling of the man's life. I'm not sure we really needed another book about Nixon but it's a very good one if you just want to listen to one biography. The reader is very good but - and this is a gripe I have about so many Audible readers - can't they check the pronunciation of foreign words instead of just guessing or getting it flat wrong. Woren mispronounces foreign words a lot, even ones that are now common English expressions,
    which are the only sort in the book ("coup de gra'" for "coup de grâce" being one of the most annoying). A shame, because he otherwise has a very nice voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Go Steelers 09-18-17
    Go Steelers 09-18-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant research and storytelling"

    This book sets out not to damn or praise Nixon, but to describe him and his impact. And the book includes much to both praise and damn. It is must reading for anyone interested in understanding mid-century American politics. And the quality of the writing and narration make it a joy to listen to. I was riveted throughout. Both Richard and Pat Nixon emerge as complex and wounded human beings. And episodes such as the Alger Hiss hearings became clear to me for the first time. Highly, highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    TB 09-06-17
    TB 09-06-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Should be required reading before 2020"

    The parallels between the Nixon era and today with Trump in the White House are breathtaking. A big difference is that he was able to do so much that was invisible to the public during his first term, enabling his big win in 1972, before the intense investigations that came after his reelection. We need the press more than ever to keep up the scrutiny today and heed what we learn before the next election.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Miller 09-02-17
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    "One of the best bios"

    Fascinating especially in the time of trump. The similarities are amazing. Couldn't "put down." Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Mike 08-24-17
    Mike 08-24-17 Member Since 2014
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    "An American Tragedy:Richard Nixon"

    This interesting history of Richard Nixon gives us insight of his undoubted strengths and unfortunate weaknesses.This man could have and perhaps should have been one of the greatest Presidents but his own self inflicted insecurities proved to be his downfall.A book well written and well narrated,read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Nana Landgraf 08-19-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Farrell's biography of Richard Nixon"

    I dislike this book extremely. I've read only two chapters. A review based on only two chapters is probably against your rules. I thought the book was going to allow the reader to form his/her own opinions based on offered information, but the offered information is slanted. The language used to describe unsavoriness reminds me of a third-rate novel. Please, take it back. There's a book by Mary Beard I'm going to hunt for. Nana Landgraf

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Raymond Chase 08-15-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Amazing"

    this is a true fact book about a terrific man. I thoroughly enjoyed reading or listening to it. I suggested to everyone, he was a terrific president.

    1 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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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