Richard Nixon: The Life PDF Ä Richard Nixon:


Richard Nixon: The Life ❴Read❵ ➲ Richard Nixon: The Life Author John A. Farrell – Thomashillier.co.uk Brilliantly researched, authoritatively crafted by a prize winning biographer, and lively on the page, this is the Nixon we ve been waiting for Richard Nixon opens with young Navy lieutenant Nick Nixo Brilliantly researched, authoritatively crafted by a prize winning biographer, and lively on the page, this is the Nixon we ve been waiting for Richard Nixon opens with young Navy lieutenant Richard Nixon: PDF/EPUB or 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 legendarycampaign, 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 hisopening 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 , 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 readers have awaited.


10 thoughts on “Richard Nixon: The Life

  1. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    The president was an almost completely political animal He was neither moral nor immoral, but was amoral, said Farmer, the civil rights leader I don t think right or wrong entered into it Nixon would have been recorded as being a very great president had it not been for the fatal character flaw, said Farmer He did not believe in anything I can remember in 1994 when Richard Nixon died that one of my friends, who has been an unrepentant hippy her whole life, said she was going to The president was an almost completely political animal He was neither moral nor immoral, but was amoral, said Farmer, the civil rights leader I don t think right or wrong entered into it Nixon would have been recorded as being a very great president had it not been for the fatal character flaw, said Farmer He did not believe in anything I can remember in 1994 when Richard Nixon died that one of my friends, who has been an unrepentant hippy her whole life, said she was going to the Nixon funeral, but only if it was an open casket She wanted to make sure the SOB was really dead Nixon certainly inspired this level of animosity, not only in political enemies, but the numerous personal enemies he made over the years for beingwella dick When you got into a campaign, especially with a guy like Nixon whose guts we hated, it was easy to get combative You re not running against a nice guy You re running against a first class son of a bitch I didn t know much about Nixon s early days in California John A Farrell gives some background The deaths of several members of his family seemed to have a lifetime impact on Nixon I wasinterested in what kind of man he was after he got back from service in WWII I thought maybe I would see the progression of a brash, idealistic, young man who eventually evolved into the brooding, wounded Darth Vader who resigned in 1974 His opponents, from Jerry Voorhis for the 1946 House seat to the pink lady Helen Gahagan Douglas in 1950 for the Senate seat, were both completely unprepared to face the type of tactics that Nixon was willing to unleash Winning was everything There was no sense of decorum in a Nixon campaign There was no progression, Nixon was as ruthless at the beginning of his career as he was at the end of his career I know you are going to be shocked about this, but there were two main staples of Nixon s campaign tactics One was to paint any Democrat as soft on communism, thus dubbing Helen Gahagan Douglas as the pink lady Two was to lie and, when caught in a lie, to lie about ever saying the lie Then, bludgeon the opponent for using unfair tactics by calling Nixon a liar.Sound familiar When he was campaigning to be Dwight D Eisenhower s vice president, he called President Truman a traitor Which is a gasp moment Where is the line that should never be crossed Then, he denied saying it He became furious when reporters started carrying around tape recorders to his events We have discovered in the current political climate that even getting a politician on tape may not be enough to convince his party followers to condemn him.I was surprised to learn that Richard Nixon was Tricky Dick Nixon from the first moment he decided to become a politician There was simply nothing he wouldn t do to win a campaign It was all about winning and achieving power Whatever he had to do to make that happen was not weighed on a moral scale, but was weighed by how much it would help him win and by a calculation of what his chances were to get away with it I knew he was diabolical, but underneath it all, I thought maybe there was merit I d, over the years, began to give him some credit for being a good statesmen, after office I considered him a thoughtful writer who seemed to see the world withobjectivity and not through the darkened optics of a warped Nixon lens This is the moment in the speech when Richard is showing how he has the universe by the nuts and how he is going to squeeze until he gets what he wants His famous Checkers speech, when he went on the air and defended his use of campaign finances, was that moment in time when his footnote to history could have been smaller Eisenhower was about to drop him from the ticket as his vice president This is one of those moments in time where Nixon could explode, casting his boiling vile and deep seated hate for the world in all directions He could have been the disgruntled civil servant who throws grenades over his shoulder as he walks out the door This speech was given with such feeling and passion that he brought tears to the eyes of the film crew, not to mention the public How does he do that He doesn t even like people enough to pull off a speech like that The only thing I can think is that his adoration for himself overcame his natural loathing for himself long enough for him to save his career He didn t want them to win.Escaping these moments, and there are many throughout his career where he should have been politically destroyed, kept enhancing his ego, gave fire to his paranoia, and, ultimately, lead to his spectacular demise Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest mused Henry II, and a knight seeking royal favor murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket in the cathedral at Canterbury Did Richard Nixon order every breach of the law No But in May 1971 he called for the wiretapping of his Democratic foes And in June he instructed Haldeman and Colson You ve got to really have a sophisticated assault upon the Democrats Humphrey must be destroyed Muskie must be destroyed Teddy Kennedy must be It wasn t hard for Nixon s knights to know what the sovereign wanted Nixon s mutterings led not to Canterbury, but to Watergate The dubious men who were hired to carry out these clandestined tasks called themselves The Plumbers, but plumbers all over the world should be insulted because of what bumbling fools they turned out to be Certainly, Nixon did not specifically order everything these idiots attempted to do, but to be frank, Nixon loved the covert nature of their cloak and dagger enterprises He wanted to know details so that he could relish in the belief that he was smarter and craftier than his moron opponents What sinks him is a White House tape from June 23rd Oh, yes, the taping setup that would help him write books about his life as president after office He would have plenty of time to write books, sooner than he thought Farrell talks about some interesting things that have been revealed for the first time I m not going to go into detail because those are the type of things that encourage people to read the book for themselves, but one particular covert Nixon action is haunting for me because it led to sevenyears of war in Vietnam The cost in blood and money was going to be steep I was also really bothered by his selection of Spiro Agnew as vice presidentThe selection of Spiro Agnew revealed Nixon at his worst It was a cynical nod, a race baiting wink a catastrophic blunder It was Nixon s first presidential decision the choosing of a running mate and a disasterNixon referred to Agnew as the assassin s dilemma I felt the same way when George H W Bush selected Dan Quayle, or how about George W Bush putting Dick Cheney one heartbeat away from the presidency, or how about the baffling choice of Sarah Palin by John McCain Are these choices merely hedges against assassination Nixon was that cynical I m not sure these other presidential candidates were, but sometimes I do wonder Dick, if you stare into the camera with enough intense concentration, maybe the world will burst into flames.Farrell s writing style is very fluid He does not become bogged down in minutiae Certainly, my perspective has shifted once again about one of theconflicted and controversial figures in American history Unfortunately, history tends to repeat itself, and here we are stuck with another paranoid, delusional, blustering court jester in the presidency People tell me how boring they find history to be, but they don t seem to realize that, by reading the past, you are reading the present and the future It is infinitely fascinating If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. Julie Julie says:

    Nixon The Life by John A Farrell is a 2017 Doubleday publication There is no shortage of books written about Nixon, with Nixon himself having written several books, published as memoirs So, with all that material floating around, why do we need another book about Nixon, and why now Well, first, I think having a Nixon biography published in one book, as opposed to, say, Stephen Ambrose s chronicles of Nixon s life, published in three volumes, makes this biography a terrific choice It s enorm Nixon The Life by John A Farrell is a 2017 Doubleday publication There is no shortage of books written about Nixon, with Nixon himself having written several books, published as memoirs So, with all that material floating around, why do we need another book about Nixon, and why now Well, first, I think having a Nixon biography published in one book, as opposed to, say, Stephen Ambrose s chronicles of Nixon s life, published in three volumes, makes this biography a terrific choice It s enormous, with nearly eight hundred pages, but it is a very polished publication, that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether you are a novice or an aficionado Secondly, this book is a very comprehensive biography that does not allow Watergate to define it, so it s not a rehash of the same old material over one period in Nixon s life, which has been analyzed to death already, although it is covered very succinctly here Third, this is a new release, which means material unavailable previously, like in Ambrose s case, has now been released, which gives us a fresh perspective on Nixon s life.Last, but not least, is the timing of this book s release and the parallels to our current political climate and the nation s polarization, which is hard to ignore The author has done an amazing job with this book It s so well organized, with some incredibly powerful passages, and covers the entirety of Nixon s life, and lays out his slow transformation over the years, showing how, when, where and why he became the type of person and the type of leader he was Here are few of my musings, quotes and impressions, in no particular order This Administration is going to turn away from offbeat art, music, and literature Sounds eerily familiar, no It wasn t ALL Bad Nixon saw that an equal amount of funding went into women s athletics He ended the draft, approved the lowering of the voting age, and had a surprising health care plan, which also looked pretty darned familiar and included mandated coverage and augmented public subsidies He did some important things for the environment up to a point by signing legislation to regulate pesticides and to police oceans and protect marine mammals, just to name a few Nixon was known for small acts of kindness, which were rarely remarked upon Yet, there were moments like these which reminds you of how the dark side seemed to take over completely after a time Fretting as he waited for the rain to lift and give Tricia the outdoor wedding, she hoped for, Nixon had raged, sequentially, about his enemies It was a list that included long haired, dirty looking protesters the eastern establishment, feminists teachers unions Jews, African Americans, and the softies of the Ivy league the ass kissers and butter uppers in the bureaucracy and the lousy dirty cowardly bastards in the press Nixon encouraged Haldeman the White House Chief of Staff to enlist thugs from the Teamsters Union to beat up protesters They ve got guys who ll go in and knock their heads off, Nixon said Sure Murderers, said Haldeman This is the time men have to be strong, Nixon told his aides I don t have contempt for strong men that disagree with me like the communists I respect them I have utter contempt for the so called intellectuals who put themselves on a high moral plane and are just weak Weak, selfish, and cowardly, Kissinger chimed in Clowns, dilettante intellectuals Who bite us like sand flies In Nixon s attempts to block the press It was the duty of a free press to prevent the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die, wrote Justice Hugo Black Washington is a jaundiced town Nixon was welcomed back to the Capitol for Hubert Humphrey s funeral in 1978, and to a state dinner honoring Deng at the Carter White House in 1979 He was visibly proud to join Ford and Carter in 1981 and represent the United States at the rites for the assassinated Anwar Sadat The trinity inspired Senator Bob Dole s arch description, at a Gridiron dinner, of the three former presidents as See no evil Hear no evil And Evil Overall, this was an incredibly insightful biography, very well researched and outlined Nixon will never paint a sympathetic figure in my mind, and this book does nothing to expel that image of him In fact, my opinion of him is still steeped in contempt, but I did get a much clearer picture of him as a man, a human being, a husband, a father, and as a politician I enjoyed reading about Nixon s early political career, how the author builds Nixon s burgeoning personality, the many ways he changed over the years, his insecurities, and sensitivities to slights which made him work harder to prove himself, yet led to his ultimate downfall What did the President know and when did he know it He knew it all, and he knew it all along This book covers several decades of politics, with many interesting tidbits I d never heard about, leading up to the resignation of Nixon, with a short look at his life outside of politics After reading this book, I sat back and wondered how on earth we survived it all In the seventies, I was just a kid, concernedabout playground politics than Washington politics, holed up in my room applying copious amounts of blue eye shadow and strawberry lip gloss, dancing around to Casey Kasem s top forty countdown on the FM dial I was pretty much oblivious to most of the details back then, and had forgotten many of the details I had learned, but this seemed like a perfect time to take a measured look back at the events that shaped a nation and the man behind one of the darkest, coldest, and most corrupt administrations we experienced So far I was thankful for the author s approach, steering clear from adding his own slant or political opinion to the book He neither attempted to evoke a sympathetic view of Nixon, in an attempt to soften our viewpoint, nor did he ruthlessly crucify him with a disdainful tone He didn t attempt to take one side over the other, but presented the book as a biography should be presented with as neutral in tone as possible Let the facts speak for themselves and back up your information with credible sources and you will done the subject justice Nixon, like so many other world leaders had many, many sides to his personality Tricky Dick turned out to be farinteresting than I ever could have imagined and this book has left a big impression on me This book is perfectly presented and is a riveting, absorbing read, something that is rarely the case when reading non fiction politics or history 5 stars


  3. Matt Matt says:

    Army One lifted from the lawn, rose above the muggy capital, the National Mall dimmed in a summer morning s haze Below, L Enfant s grand boulevards and Brumidi s halls and corridors pulsed with visionaries, parvenus, and hustlers with dreams and scheming with avarice, ambition, rivalry, and purpose The chopper soared over statues of heroes, and monuments to great statesmen whose ranks, with such American audacity, the awkward grocer s boy had presumed to join, had come so near, only to fallArmy One lifted from the lawn, rose above the muggy capital, the National Mall dimmed in a summer morning s haze Below, L Enfant s grand boulevards and Brumidi s halls and corridors pulsed with visionaries, parvenus, and hustlers with dreams and scheming with avarice, ambition, rivalry, and purpose The chopper soared over statues of heroes, and monuments to great statesmen whose ranks, with such American audacity, the awkward grocer s boy had presumed to join, had come so near, only to fall They spent the flight to California alone, each in his or her cabin on Air Force One The president had a cocktail At noon, when they were somewhere over Missouri, the resignation took effect John Farrell, Richard Nixon The Life We think that when someone dear to us dies, we think that when we lose an election, we think that when we suffer a defeat, that all has ended Not true It s only a beginning, always The young must know it the old must know it It must always sustain us, because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain Richard M Nixon, farewell address to his White House staffIf you were a novelist, writing about a president, you would want to use Richard Nixon as a template An up from nothing boy with big ambitions and sharp claws, rising from the heap of a no name college and a sturdy but unspectacular naval career to beat a longtime incumbent congressman, only to use that position as congressman to jump to the Senate the story of Horatio Alger taking on Alger Hiss , and to use the Senate to become vice president, all in such a short time it might cause your head to spin A man with incredible vision, yet incredibly shortsighted a man who played tough, made lists of enemies, saw revenge as a virtue, yet who remained painfully thin skinned throughout his life a man who changed the world for the better, yet also changed it for the worse, and perhaps in equal measure Yes, if you were a novelist, you would use Richard Nixon as a template, because you could fill thousands of pages with the drama created by this single tortured man John Farrell attempts to squeeze this big life into a book less than 600 pages in text That he succeeds, and succeeds spectacularly, is testament to his sublime authorial skills This is a masterpiece of comprehensive distillation Richard Nixon The Life is a cradle to grave biography that does not actually begin in the cradle, but with Nixon coming home from World War II and running for Congress in California s 12th District, against longtime Democrat incumbent Jerry Voorhis Only after Nixon s surprise victory does Farrell backtrack to Nixon s birth and upbringing, a childhood marred by striving and tragedy and enough pivotal incidences to fill an entire psychobiography From there, Farrell is off and running, attempting to capture the life of Nixon, a man who could be the representative symbol of one of the most turbulent eras in American history Whenever I read a history book, I have a Venn diagram in my mind On one side is Literary Ability, on the other side is Scholarship, and the place where the two overlap is the Sweet Spot Farrell hits the sweet spot He is an engaging writer with a real knack for cutting to the core of complex events while maintaining excellent narrative pacing I thought he was superb breaking down Nixon s big moments, whether that is his role in the Alger Hiss Whittaker Chambers case, the Checkers speech, or his trip to Red China With the exception of Robert Dallek s Nixon and Kissinger, which is narrowly focused on Nixon s foreign policy, this is the first book I ve read devoted solely to our 37th President Despite that, I never got lost or confused, at least not by Farrell s storytelling Nixon s decision making is another matter Though this is written with the clarity and thrust of a popular history, it is also impeccably researched The notes are extensive, and extensively annotated, making this a two bookmark book one bookmark to keep my place in the text, the other to keep my place in the endnotes One of Farrell s coups is finding evidence of Nixon s direct involvement in the Chennault Affair, showing that his campaign directly interfered with the Vietnam peace process during the 1968 election in order to assure that a late breaking peace did not give Hubert Humphrey an electoral boost Nixon s involvement has long been speculated, but Farrell provides what he believes to be the missing link The Nixon foundation has attempted to explain Farrell s research away, but Nixon certainly does not deserve the benefit of the doubt here This may not be enough to convict him in a Court of Law The Court of History is a different matter Having read both interpretations, I agree with Farrell In these hyper partisan times, when even football and hurricanes are politicized, there is always going to be a question of bias In the main, I found Farrell extremely judicious While he certainly injects his opinions and interpretations into the book, he does not write with any kind of polemical fire either for or against Dick Nixon He does not, for instance, attempt any sort of apology for Watergate But he also refrains from name calling and has not at least to my knowledge tried to break into the Nixon Library to draw devil s horns on Dick s portrait He takes Nixon very much as a man, flawed and imperfect but not driven by evil motives I understand this will not satisfy his partisans or satiate his detractors But as I always tell my wife, in the context of parenting our three children, that you know you ve done something right when no one is happy A couple things do combine to give Richard Nixon The Life a pro Nixon slant First, there is the nature of a single volume biography This book is simply too short for a full airing of Nixon s triumphs and sins As Farrell himself points out, Stephen Ambrose gave us multiple volumes even without the benefit of thousands of hours of taped conversations and hundreds of oral histories With space so tight, there is little extra room for amplification, exploration, or meditation on any single event Thus, the good and bad, the big and small, tend to have the same impact For example, in the aforementioned Chennault Affair, Farrell drops his revelation, notes that it is probably areprehensible action on Nixon s part than Watergate, and then moves on, all within the space of a few pages Meanwhile, my head is spinning, and I m like Wait, shouldn t we talk about this someI mean, you re saying Nixon was willing to blow up a peace deal just to win an election. As Farrell notes, there is no certainty that Lyndon Johnson would have gotten a settlement done, even without the shenanigans That, to me, is a bit beside the point It is the intent that matters, here Farrell notes that a private citizen s interference with international treaty making might have been felonious I have another word for it If Benedict Arnold as taught us anything, it is this A man can commit a hundred brave acts in support of a worthy cause, but if he sells one strategic fort to the enemy, he will be known as a traitor and not a patriot That Nixon would risk one American life, much less thousands, just to give him better odds to win the presidency, shows the existence of an extremely dark mindset The other element that tends to make this markedly sympathetic to Richard Nixon is that the story is told from his perspective We only really see events though his own eyes Indeed, even though Farrell tries to give us a snippet of his family life, even those closest to Nixon come across as pawns on his chessboard, rather than individuals with their own lives and motivations The upshot of this is that cameo figures in Nixon s life, such as Lyndon Johnson crude, duplicitous, bad intentioned and John Kennedy rich, ruthless, unserious, and a sexual deviant are not given the same benefits that Nixon receives These men, like Nixon, had to make extremely difficult decisions within an intricate matrix But while Nixon s rationalizations are discussed in full, that courtesy is not extended to others, nor is the assumption that these men, despite their failings, acted with a fundamental decency Towards the end, Farrell starts to rely heavily on a tu quoque defense, especially with regards to Watergate which of all the events portrayed, gets the longest and most thorough narrative arc Nixon may have tapped phones, authorized break ins, and played other dirty tricks, but so did LBJ and JFK The implication is that Nixon was punished for doing what everyone else did I found this argument a bit absurd It s playground logic That others did what Nixon did is irrelevant to the fact that Nixon did do these things He committed crimes and is guilty of that, whether or not others got away with it A man who kills is spouse cannot not, with any expectation of success, go in front of the judge and say But your honor, O.J got away with itFarrell also tends to agree with Nixon that he was a victim of his enemies vis vis Watergate Again, I don t accept that The fact that Nixon s enemies pursued him for his activities, and did so gleefully, does not change his role in events Nixon was not set up He did what he did, and then spent the balance of his life ruing the fact that he got caught The amount of scandal and controversy during the Nixon Administration is amazing There s enough there to force him to resign three times over Your Vice President is an honest to God crook You re so intoxicated during the Yom Kippur War that your cabinet goes to Defcon 3 while you re drunk on your ass These are observations, not criticisms I think that Farrell honestly grapples with Nixon s character I did too Of all our presidents, Nixon is one of the most glaringly human He shares that trait, and many others, with LBJ He achieved some great things He rose to many occasions He flashed greatness He had tremendous vision and political acuity But he also had a smallness that is entirely relatable He lashed out at his enemies he was deeply wounded by criticism and in hard times, he often took to drinking to the point of incoherence It s almost like a caption in People magazine Presidents They re Just Like UsIf I faced the pressures Nixon faced, I don t pretend I would have done any better You likely would ve found me at the Lincoln Monument in the middle of the night, in my underwear, clutching a half empty bottle of bum wine in one hand, and haranguing a trash can that I had mistaken for Henry Kissinger Despite the literary and scholarly virtues on display here, there is no solving the riddle of Richard Nixon Shortly after I finished this, I went online and watched Nixon s farewell address to the White House staff It is a remarkable speech, and worth viewing rambling, self conscious, often awkward, by turns vulnerable and defensive At the end of that speech, Nixon perhaps unwittingly wrote his own epitaph for himself and the greatness he let slip through his grasp, destroyed by his own pettiness Always remember, others may hate you but those who hate you don t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself


  4. Howard Howard says:

    Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon in a conversation with President Lyndon Johnson in October 1968 My God I would never do anything to encourage South Vietnam not to come to the peace table But as John Farrell proves, Nixon did that very thing in an effort to sabotage possible peace talks to end the Vietnam War He did so because he was afraid that a settlement would damage his prospects while enhancing those of his Democratic opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, in the up Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon in a conversation with President Lyndon Johnson in October 1968 My God I would never do anything to encourage South Vietnam not to come to the peace table But as John Farrell proves, Nixon did that very thing in an effort to sabotage possible peace talks to end the Vietnam War He did so because he was afraid that a settlement would damage his prospects while enhancing those of his Democratic opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, in the upcoming election.Rumors had been floating around for decades that Nixon had informed Nguyen Van Thieu, the president of South Vietnam, that if he would resist peace negotiations that he would get a better deal after Nixon was elected.The rumors became fact when Farrell discovered a cache of H.R Haldeman s notes that were not made available until 2007 and apparently had not been closely examined by anyone prior to Farrell s discovery In those notes is the smoking gun evidence that Nixon ordered Haldeman, a campaign aide and later the President s chief of staff, to use an intermediary to pass the word to Thieu.Farrell readily admits that since Thieu was not predisposed to accept any settlement under any conditions at that time or later that Nixon s actions probably had no impact on the outcome of the election of 1968 However, a failed bank robbery is still a crime and even if the Nixon campaign s efforts in this instance failed to influence the outcome of the election, it was nevertheless a crime, and because the process involved conspiracy with a foreign government to influence a U.S election, it might have been treason.Further, even if it exerted no impact on the election, when one considers that on the average three hundred American troops were being killed every week, in addition to untold numbers of North and South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians, to be willing to do anything to stifle peace talks is unconscionable and totally unforgivable and worse than anything he did related to Watergate.The episode is the final proof of what we already knew Richard Nixon would do almost anything to win, even if that meant sacrificing both truth and people Farrell writes that given the lives and human suffering at stake, and the internal discord that was ripping the United States apart, it is hard not to conclude that, of all Richard Nixon s actions in a lifetime of politics, this was the most reprehensible But it isn t all that surprising when one examines his record of the politics of grievance and polarization In December 1972, after just being re elected by historic margins, he told his aides The press is the enemy The press is the enemy The establishment is the enemy The professors are the enemy Professors are the enemy Write that on the blackboard one hundred times and never forget it I have highlighted Nixon s actions regarding the election of 1968, because that is the blockbuster disclosure in the book But there is so muchthan that in Farrell s biography He has done his homework, he has taken advantage ofrecently released information, includingtapes, and he has crafted the best Nixon biography ever written and possibly the best that will ever be written.Finally this The historian Margaret MacMillan has written that e ven historians who disapprove of psychohistory find themselves tempted irresistibly when it comes to Richard Nixon Farrell does not resist the temptation to put Nixon on the couch, but I think it isthan just a temptation, for it is impossible to write a meaningful biography of the man without doing it As a result, Nixon, who hated psychoanalysis and often publicly said so, has become the most psychoanalyzed president in our history.Well, at least until now


  5. Donna Davis Donna Davis says:

    History buffs rejoice the definitive Nixon biography is here John A Farrell is the renowned biographer of Clarence Darrow Now he gives us a comprehensive, compelling look at the only US president ever to resign from office under the cloud of imminent impeachment This is the only Nixon biography that answers the many questions that left Americans and those around the world that were watching scratching our heads Why, why, and why would he do these things Farrell tells us I read this book History buffs rejoice the definitive Nixon biography is here John A Farrell is the renowned biographer of Clarence Darrow Now he gives us a comprehensive, compelling look at the only US president ever to resign from office under the cloud of imminent impeachment This is the only Nixon biography that answers the many questions that left Americans and those around the world that were watching scratching our heads Why, why, and why would he do these things Farrell tells us I read this book free and in advance, thanks to Net Galley and Doubleday, but it would have been worth paying the full retail price if I d had to It s available to the public now Anytime I read nonfiction, I start with the sources If the author hasn t verified his information using primary sources, I go no further Nonfiction is only fact if the author can prove that what he says is true and I have never seenmeticulous,thorough source work than what I see here Every tape in the Nixon library every memoir, from Nixon s own, to those of the men that advised him as president, to those written by his family members, to those that opposed him are referenced, and that s not all Every set of presidential papers from Eisenhower on forward the memoirs of LBJ, the president that served before Nixon took office reminiscences of Brezhnev, leader of Russia which at the time was part of the USSR reminiscences of Chinese leaders that hosted him every single relevant source has been scoured and referenced in methodical, careful, painstaking detail Farrell backs up every single fact in his book with multiple, sometimes a dozen excellent sources Because he has been so diligent, he s also been able to take down some myths that were starting to gain a foothold in our national narrative An example is the assertion that before the Kennedys unleashed their bag of dirty tricks on Nixon s campaign in 1960, Nixon was a man of sound principle and strong ethics A good hard look at his political campaigns in California knocks the legs out from under that fledgling bit of lore Gone Lest I lend the impression that this is a biography useful only to the most careful students of history, folks willing to slog endlessly through excruciating detail, let me be perfectly clear the man writes in a way that is hugely engaging and at times funny enough to leave me gasping for air Although I taught American history and government for a long time, I also learned a great deal here, not just about Nixon and those around him, but bits and pieces of American history that are relevant to the story but that don t pop up anywhere else For those that have wondered why such a clearly intelligent politician, one that would win by a landslide, would hoist his own petard by authoring and authorizing plans to break into the offices of opponents and their physicians this is your book For those that want to know what Nixon knew and when he knew it, this is for you, too I find myself mesmerized by the mental snapshots Farrell evokes a tormented Nixon, still determined not to yield, pounding on the piano late into the night I hear the clink of ice cubes in the background as Nixon, talking about Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India, suggests that The Indians need what they really need is a mass famine I can see Kissinger and the Pentagon making last minute arrangements to deal with a possible 11th hour military coup before Nixon leaves office Don t leave him with the button during those last 24 hours, they figure And I picture poor Pat, his longsuffering wife to whom he told nothing, nothing, nothing, packing all through the night before they are to leave the White House because of course he didn t tell her they were going home in time to let her pack during normal hours The most damning and enlightening facts have to do with Vietnam and particularly, Cambodia Farrell makes a case that the entire horrific Holocaust there with the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot could have been avoided had Nixon not contacted the Vietnamese ambassador and suggested that he not make a deal with Johnson to end the war Whether you are like I am, a person that reads every Watergate memoir that you can obtain free or cheaply, or whether you are a younger person that has never gone into that dark tunnel, this is the book to read It s thorough and it s fair, and what s , it s entertaining Get it Read it You won t be sorry


  6. Christopher Saunders Christopher Saunders says:

    For all the books written about Richard Nixon, there are surprisingly few cradle to grave biographies and most of those by Nixon apologists whose views on their subject aren t reliable Or maybe not surprising, considering how complex and tormented he is what biographer could cram Nixon s tortured life and tumultuous times into a single volume Farrell, author of formidable works on Tip O Neill and Clarence Darrow, makes an excellent try in this 2017 volume Unlike recent works by Evan Thomas For all the books written about Richard Nixon, there are surprisingly few cradle to grave biographies and most of those by Nixon apologists whose views on their subject aren t reliable Or maybe not surprising, considering how complex and tormented he is what biographer could cram Nixon s tortured life and tumultuous times into a single volume Farrell, author of formidable works on Tip O Neill and Clarence Darrow, makes an excellent try in this 2017 volume Unlike recent works by Evan Thomas who s too eager to apologize for Nixon or Tim Weiner whose relentlessly evil Nixon borders on caricature , Farrell teases out flaws and complexities in his subject He shows sympathy for Nixon s hardscrabble background, rhetorical skill and understandable ambition to transcend small town California, while avoiding the pitfalls of psychobiography that ensared so many historians In Farrell s view, Nixon s entering Congress in the post WWII era, when Red baiting, public exhaustion with the New Deal and resurgent corporate influence and reflexive partisanship drove American politics, shaped his career and worldview as much as any Freudian nightmares from Nixon s childhood From both conviction and convenience, Nixon abandoned principle for gamesmanship early on, a tendency warped over time by slights and humiliations from Alger Hiss, Eisenhower, Kennedy, the press and a nebulous Establishment, making him the tribune of America s perpetually resentful Silent Majority Farrell s Nixon isn t unsympathetic as a person we re reminded that he was an affectionate, if sometimes distant family man, a pragmatist on civil rights and other domestic issues and, at times, a genuinely brilliant thinker and geopolitical strategist but remains reprehensible as a politician and leader The author presents new proof that Nixon sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks just before the 1968 election, while revisiting his cynical manipulation of Vietnam and rhetorical positive polarization of Real Americans against liberals, radicals and the rest and, of course, the self obsessed, revenge driven, Win at Any Cost ethos that turned the White House into a paranoid echo chamber, triggered Watergate and poisoned politics forever Little that s strictly new, then, but Farrell s telling details and muscular prose add fresh, believable contours to his familiar portrait


  7. Jonfaith Jonfaith says:

    The president was a gut fighter.His first reaction was to fight back to get even Amongst my earliest memories during the early mid 1970s was the ubiquity of the word Watergate Somehow I imagined it was related to the games of dominos that my grandparents played with their friends The designs created during the game evoked plumbing I was too young to grasp that Plumber was another timely designation Perhaps it is hubris, whatever the motivation it is daunting to attempt to encapsulate a The president was a gut fighter.His first reaction was to fight back to get even Amongst my earliest memories during the early mid 1970s was the ubiquity of the word Watergate Somehow I imagined it was related to the games of dominos that my grandparents played with their friends The designs created during the game evoked plumbing I was too young to grasp that Plumber was another timely designation Perhaps it is hubris, whatever the motivation it is daunting to attempt to encapsulate a man s life in 540 pages, especially as one as involved Richard M Nixon Beginning in WWII and then retracing back to Nixon s birth and ancestors, a conflicted portrait emerges, fuelled by the dueling temperaments of his parents Nixon ever insecure always felt his success while girded by hard work was purely coincidental Dumb luck Nixon didn t give a damn about the finer points of domestic policy, said aide Tom Huston All he wanted to do was to keep the sharks away And so many progressive measures, crafted with the help of his administration, made their way to Nixon s desk, where he acquiesced, signed his name, and took his just share of the credit.The foreign policy aspects of the book were riveting, domestic less so It is important to recognize that during the 1950s Nixon was a muchvocal supporter of civil rights than Eisenhower, Johnson or Kennedy Nixon felt betrayed then when African Americans voted for Kennedy in the 1960 election Nixon s entreaties with the Soviets and the Chinese are simply breathtaking His approach to strife in the subcontinent is abominable As was the stewardship of Vietnam though who amongst his storied predecessors handled it better A very human biography of a most human president


  8. Steve Steve says:

    in 2017, John Farrell s Richard Nixon The Life is the most recent comprehensive, single volume biography of Nixon Farrell is a former White House correspondent for The Boston Globe and The Denver Post and is the author of award winning biographies of Massachusetts congressman Tip O Neill and attorney Clarence Darrow.This 558 paged biography proves balanced, lucid and consistently captivating It begins with Nixon s run for Congress in 1945 be in 2017, John Farrell s Richard Nixon The Life is the most recent comprehensive, single volume biography of Nixon Farrell is a former White House correspondent for The Boston Globe and The Denver Post and is the author of award winning biographies of Massachusetts congressman Tip O Neill and attorney Clarence Darrow.This 558 paged biography proves balanced, lucid and consistently captivating It begins with Nixon s run for Congress in 1945 before back tracking briefly to review his early life Inor less chronological fashion, the book proceeds through his Senatorial career, his service as vice president, his wilderness years, his now infamous presidency and his fascinating two decade retirement.In a world well stocked with Nixon biographies, Farrell s claim to fame involves his discovery of notes penned by Nixon s chief of staff that show Nixon sabotaged LBJ s peace initiative with North Vietnam in 1968 for political gain But beyond that notable revelation, Farrell provides other fresh insights and he saturates the narrative with clever quips and brilliant one liners.Farrell describes Nixon s wilderness yearscolorfully than I have seen elsewhere and his examination of Nixon s efforts to enhance America s relationship with China is excellent Also included is a particularly thoughtful review of civil rights issues during the course of Nixon s political career, and Farrell is able to distill the complicated decades long conflict in Vietnam to its most comprehensible essence.But the best aspect of this biography is probably its review of Watergate Farrell moves through this sordid tale efficiently, providing just enough detail to inform a Nixon era novice while providing an engrossing narrative for readers already familiar with this political tragedy These sixty or so pages are refreshingly clear, cogent and convincing.Although some readers have proclaimed this the new definitive biography of Nixon, it has its share of flaws In the interest of efficiency much of Nixon s life is covered too quickly His first three decades, for instance, only receive about forty pages of coverage not nearly enough to fully examine these critical years when his character was being forged.Other important moments are considered with comparative haste or only modest scrutiny the Checkers speech, his vice presidential trip to Asia and his Cabinet selection as president elect, to name a few In addition, Farrell s inclusion of historical context is rather uneven At times this book seems to behistory than biography while at others times context is almost entirely lacking.But the most disappointing aspect of this biography for some will be that despite its compelling insights, revealing quotes and keen observations, Nixon remains stubbornly enigmatic Farrell s reluctance to psychoanalyze the man will please purists but leave others searching for a better sense for the origin and evolution of Nixon s pernicious personality.Overall, Richard Nixon The Life is a mostly familiar story which proves nicely balanced and quite well told Readers familiar with Nixon s life are likely to find just enough fresh insights and good writing to justify oneNixon biography while readers new to Nixon will find Farrell s biography a terrific introduction to this oddly fascinating and sadly self destructive politician.Overall rating 4 stars


  9. Steve Steve says:

    Very solid bio on Nixon That said, as I was reading, I couldn t help but think of Robert Caro s massive and highly praised LBJ project The arc of Nixon s life is epic If you re of a certain age, his life covers a good part of our post World War II experience In other words Nixon, whatever you think of him, should probably be the subject of a multi volume effort Then again, any biographer is also going to confront the lifelong enigma of Nixon On one hand, he was a great up from your boots Very solid bio on Nixon That said, as I was reading, I couldn t help but think of Robert Caro s massive and highly praised LBJ project The arc of Nixon s life is epic If you re of a certain age, his life covers a good part of our post World War II experience In other words Nixon, whatever you think of him, should probably be the subject of a multi volume effort Then again, any biographer is also going to confront the lifelong enigma of Nixon On one hand, he was a great up from your bootstraps example of American determination and grit And not just hard working, but also darkly brilliant Early on Farrell signals this by showing a young Nixon in the midst of his first congressional campaign jotting down on his ever present legal pad the need to infiltrate his opponents camp I m not sure I liked the way Farrell did that It seemed a bit too novelistic, and hardly unusual, but there also seems to be larger purpose, which is the exposure of a dark thread which Farrell will follow throughout the book Nixon will do what he has to do to win What compounds this competitiveness is Nixon s ever raging and ever growing insecurities As many have noted, Farrell is very fluid writer So much so that it is jarring when you get to Nixon s presidency The reason for this is, of course, the tapes What emerges in this part of the book is Nixon unplugged Profane, raging, brilliant, petty It s totally Gonzo out of necessity, as Farrell s polished prose and pacing becomes manic and driven like the man himself Paralleling Nixon s fall are an incredible array of great events Nixon to China, Nixon and Cambodia, Nixon bombing the bejesus out of North Vietnam, Nixon and the U.S.S.R., Chile, while along the ticking of Watergate bomb gets louder and louder Hits and misses and crimes, no question, but there is also tragic greatness to it all


  10. Cynthia Cynthia says:

    Farrell s life and times of Richard Nixon is surprisingly approachable At over seven hundred pages its long but he writes entertainingly while managing to weave in history lessons painlessly Farrell is sympathetic to a president we ve seen as a near villain during and after Nixon s time in politics Richard Nixon is also an in depth character study of a man who so often got in his own way Nixon made it hard for his public to like him and this is where Farrell shines by clarifying Nixon s co Farrell s life and times of Richard Nixon is surprisingly approachable At over seven hundred pages its long but he writes entertainingly while managing to weave in history lessons painlessly Farrell is sympathetic to a president we ve seen as a near villain during and after Nixon s time in politics Richard Nixon is also an in depth character study of a man who so often got in his own way Nixon made it hard for his public to like him and this is where Farrell shines by clarifying Nixon s complicated psyche Maybe we ve finally reached a distant enough time to achieve this re evaluation and Farrell s skilled and swimmingly easy going writing goes a long way in guiding the reader through the light and dark passages that made up Nixon s career.Thanks to the publisher for providing an e copy


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