Richard Nixon: The Life

By John A. Farrell
Read by Dan Woren

03/28/2017 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9781524755027

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    ISBN: 9781524755010

From a prize-winning biographer comes the defining portrait of a man who led America in a time of turmoil and left us a darker age. We live today, John A. Farrell shows, in a world Richard Nixon made.   At the end of WWII, navy lieutenant “Nick” Nixon returned from the Pacific and set 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 gave way to unapologetic ruthlessness. The story of that transformation is the stunning overture to John A. Farrell’s magisterial biography of the president who came to embody postwar American resentment and division.      Within four years of his first victory, Nixon was a U.S. senator; in six, the vice president of the United States of America. “Few came so far, so fast, and so alone,” Farrell writes. Nixon’s sins as a candidate were legion; and in one unlawful secret plot, as Farrell reveals here, Nixon acted to prolong the Vietnam War for his own political purposes. Finally elected president in 1969, Nixon packed his staff with bright young men who devised forward-thinking reforms addressing health care, welfare, 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. He was elected to end the war in Vietnam, but his bombing of Cambodia and Laos enraged the antiwar movement. It was Nixon who launched the McCarthy era, who played white against black with a “southern strategy,” and spurred the Silent Majority to despise and distrust the country’s elites. Ever insecure and increasingly paranoid, 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 of Watergate, Nixon became the only president to resign in disgrace.      Richard Nixon is a gripping and unsparing portrayal of our darkest president. Meticulously researched, brilliantly crafted, and offering fresh revelations, it will be hailed as a master work.

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Summary

Summary

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2017

From a prize-winning biographer comes the defining portrait of a man who led America in a time of turmoil and left us a darker age. We live today, John A. Farrell shows, in a world Richard Nixon made.
 
At the end of WWII, navy lieutenant “Nick” Nixon returned from the Pacific and set 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 gave way to unapologetic ruthlessness. The story of that transformation is the stunning overture to John A. Farrell’s magisterial biography of the president who came to embody postwar American resentment and division.
     Within four years of his first victory, Nixon was a U.S. senator; in six, the vice president of the United States of America. “Few came so far, so fast, and so alone,” Farrell writes. Nixon’s sins as a candidate were legion; and in one unlawful secret plot, as Farrell reveals here, Nixon acted to prolong the Vietnam War for his own political purposes. Finally elected president in 1969, Nixon packed his staff with bright young men who devised forward-thinking reforms addressing health care, welfare, 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. He was elected to end the war in Vietnam, but his bombing of Cambodia and Laos enraged the antiwar movement. It was Nixon who launched the McCarthy era, who played white against black with a “southern strategy,” and spurred the Silent Majority to despise and distrust the country’s elites. Ever insecure and increasingly paranoid, 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 of Watergate, Nixon became the only president to resign in disgrace.
     Richard Nixon is a gripping and unsparing portrayal of our darkest president. Meticulously researched, brilliantly crafted, and offering fresh revelations, it will be hailed as a master work.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Masterfully researched and elegantly written.” The Boston Globe on Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned
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’s Face the Nation and author of Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History
Brilliant, ruthless, a president who combined some enlightened policies with inner darkness, Richard Nixon stands alone in the history of American politics. John A. Farrell’s gripping account vividly captures Nixon from his earliest days—catapulting to Congress with a cold-blooded debate stunt—to the mounting crises he faced in the White House, culminating in his spectacular fall. T.J. Stiles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Custer’s Trials and The First Tycoon
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
Jack Farrell gives us two profoundly resonant Richard Nixons—the last progressive Republican, and the author of our national divisions. He also gives us, in one engrossing volume, the defining biography of our darkest president. Larry Tye, author of Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon
With clarity and verve, John A. Farrell’s deft pen illuminates the life of America’s 37th president. Unsparing yet fair-minded in its analysis and based on deep research in a wealth of archival and published sources, Richard Nixon is a fast-moving and penetrating portrait of this controversial and complicated man. Fredrik Logevall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Embers of War
John A. Farrell's Richard Nixon: The Life is an expertly written and strikingly comprehensive portrait of America's most complicated president. Farrell has a genius for the telling anecdote and apropos quote. His command of the sources is staggering. Richard Nixon is a true landmark achievement. Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of Cronkite  
Written with skills he acquired as an investigative reporter, John Farrell’s tour de force takes us through the rise and fall of Richard Nixon with penetrating and thought-provoking analysis. Irwin Gellman, author of The Contender: Richard Nixon, The Congress Years, 1946 to 1952 and The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952-1961
Full of fresh, endlessly revealing insights into Nixon’s political career, less on the matter of his character, refreshingly, than on the events that accompanied and resulted from it. Kirkus Reviews, starred review  
A probing biography . . . Readers track the lonely and hard-won ascent of a sickly, love-starved child, who dreams like a Romantic but maneuvers like Machiavelli . . . An unflinching portrait. Booklist, starred review
[Nixon is] an electrifying subject, a muttering Lear, of perennial interest to anyone with even an average curiosity about politics or psychology. The real test of a good Nixon biography, given how many there are, is far simpler: Is it elegantly written? And, even more important, can it tolerate paradoxes and complexity, the spikier stuff that distinguishes real-life sinners from comic-book villains? The answer, in the case of Richard Nixon, is yes, on both counts. Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
A stack of good books about Nixon could reach the ceiling, but Farrell has written the best one-volume, cradle-to-grave biography that we could expect about such a famously elusive subject. By employing recently released government documents and oral histories, he adds layers of understanding to a complex man and his dastardly decisions . . . Outstanding. Aram Goudsouzian, Washington Post
An extremely valuable introduction to the life and times of one of our most consequential presidents. Farrell gives us a Nixon rich in both character flaws and great accomplishments, the latter fueled by his transformational vision. It’s a worthy look at a fascinating president. Ray Locker, USA Today
Though there have been many previous books about Nixon, Mr. Farrell’s comprehensive, one-volume biography is welcome . . . In lively, vigorous prose, he takes readers through Nixon’s career, offering incisive judgments and revealing details along the way. Robert K. Landers, Wall Street Journal
Superb . . . the most formidable attempt yet made to put Richard Nixon in perspective. Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor
Farrell is an exceptional writer . . . It may not have been Farrell’s intent to produce a cautionary tale about the dangers of a presidency run aground on lies, paranoia, prejudices, and delusion, but that’s what he’s accomplished. Publishers Weekly, starred review
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’s Face the Nation and author of Whistlestop
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

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Author

Author Bio: John A. Farrell

John A. Farrell is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications including the Denver Post and the Boston Globe, for which he served as White House correspondent and Washington editor. Currently a senior writer for the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, DC, he is the author of Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century, which won the Hardeman prize for the best book on Congress.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Audience: Adult
Edition: English