November 6, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

Nixonland: America's Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon 1965-1972

Nixonland: America's Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon 1965-1972

Rick Perlstein

Language: English

Pages: 719

ISBN: 2:00248610

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

Perlstein's epic account begins in the blood and fire of the 1965 Watts riots, nine months after Lyndon

Johnson's historic landslide victory over Barry Goldwater appeared to herald a permanent liberal consensus

in the United States. Yet the next year, scores of liberals were tossed out of Congress, America was more divided than ever, and a disgraced politician was on his way to a shocking comeback: Richard Nixon.

Between 1965 and 1972, America experienced no less than a second civil war. Out of its ashes, the political world we know now was born. It was the era not only of Nixon, Johnson, Spiro Agnew, Hubert H. Humphrey, George McGovern, Richard J. Daley, and George Wallace but Abbie Hoffman, Ronald Reagan, Angela Davis, Ted Kennedy, Charles Manson, John Lindsay, and Jane Fonda. There are tantalizing glimpses of Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, and even of two ambitious young men named Karl Rove and William Clinton -- and a not so ambitious young man named George W. Bush.

Cataclysms tell the story of Nixonland:
- Angry blacks burning down their neighborhoods in cities across the land as white suburbanites defend home and hearth with shotguns
- The student insurgency over the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention
- The fissuring of the Democratic Party into warring factions manipulated by the "dirty tricks" of Nixon and his Committee to Re-Elect the President
- Richard Nixon pledging a new dawn of national unity, governing more divisively than any president before him, then directing a criminal conspiracy, the Watergate cover-up, from the Oval Office

Then, in November 1972, Nixon, harvesting the bitterness and resentment born of America's turmoil, was reelected in a landslide even bigger than Johnson's 1964 victory, not only setting the stage for his dramatic 1974 resignation but defining the terms of the ideological divide that characterizes America today.

Filled with prodigious research and driven by a powerful narrative, Rick Perlstein's magisterial account of how America divided confirms his place as one of our country's most celebrated historians.

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a smiling centrist in ’66), wrote his constituents, “I frankly am lukewarm on sending more American boys to Viet Nam. I want more involvement by Asians.” Chuck Percy wondered why we had to spend “$66 million a day trying to ‘save’ the 16 million people of South Vietnam while leaving the plight of the 20 million urban poor in our own country unresolved.” And Kentucky’s Republican senator Thruston Morton, the former RNC chair, said the president had been “brainwashed by the military-industrial

to load and lock their weapons and prepare to disperse gas. Two columns of troops moved out in a V, one directly east, another northeasterly. The eastbound company had to summit a steep hill south of Taylor Hall, a major campus building—the kind of slope, on college campuses, useful for wintertime sledding on cafeteria trays. As they trudged, they dispensed tear gas from their M79 canister guns. The boldest demonstrators picked up the hot metal cans and threw them back. Under suffocating gas

Chuck Colson’s, who enjoyed a staff of twenty-three to carry out such malodorous tasks. As the president’s approval rating approached a new low—near 50 percent—and the Muskie-Nixon presidential matchup was a statistical dead heat, willingness to play dirty tricks was the currency of White House success. Murray Chotiner fielded intelligence from an agent within the Muskie presidential exploratory team. Colson collated a private detective’s photos of Edward M. Kennedy dancing with an Italian

Communism.” His mother—many mothers—had explained that the villagers of My Lai must have done something to deserve it. So did Joseph Alsop. He complained in his second column after the verdict about the way his first one was edited, that “By no fault of this reporter, the persons Lt. Calley was convicted of killing were miscalled ‘civilians.’…These victims from My Lai in fact came from a ‘combat hamlet’ of a ‘combat village.’ From about the age of four on up, all persons in a ‘combat village,’ of

commander in chief reviewing the fleet: “President Nixon doesn’t believe we should play games with our national security. He believes in a strong America—to negotiate for peace…through strength.” Nixon radio ads in regions with defense plants and military installations were so misleading they were almost surreal. They cited a “congressional study” (a later researcher could never find any such study) showing how many jobs McGovern’s Pentagon cuts “could” cost that particular area. The one that

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