Richard Nixon: The Life

John A. Farrell

Richard Nixon: The Life
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Richard Nixon: The Life

John A. Farrell

Richard Nixon opens with 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.

Four years after that win, Nixon would be a US senator; six, the vice president of the United States of America. Finally president, Nixon’s staff was full of bright young men who devised forward-thinking reforms addressing healthcare, poverty, civil rights, and environmental protections. 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 polarised. It was Nixon who launched the McCarthy era, who set South against North, and who spurred the Silent Majority to 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 mesmerising intrigue and scandal known as Watergate, Nixon became the only president to resign in disgrace.

This is an enthralling tour-de-force biography of the darkest US president, a magisterial portrait of a man who embodied postwar American cynicism.

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