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Book Review: Perlstein, Rick. 2008. Nixonland: the rise of a president and the fracturing of America.

Updated on June 28, 2017

Rick Pearlstein’s “Nixonland” is a book focusing on the turmoil in America between the 1960s and the 1970s, when Richard Nixon was reigning as president. The main thesis in this book is the transformation of America into two identities within the period that Nixon was in power. This went on to create a legacy of two types of Americans one kind being “values voters” while the other group were the conservative a moral elites who were infuriated by the leadership of Nixon. The two discloses the two groups as being between the "Orthogonians" and "Franklins" (p32). The latter were the elites while the former were the social strivers. These divisions created discordance and acrimony between these two groups, thus resulting into civil war and consistent unrests.

In this book, this thesis is therefore clear and to the point hence, I attest to it. Indeed, historical analyses reveal that during Nixon’s rein as president, the country realized a decline in many aspects, economically, politically, environmentally and socially because of the unending truce between the elites and the poor, between Whites and people of color.

Rick’s heroic account commences in the fire and blood that was caused by the Watt’s riots in the 1965, merely nine months after the momentous landslide victory of Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater. The victory appeared to indicate a permanent moderate consensus in the USA. The preceding year was met with the tossing of numerous liberals from the congress, and at this specific time, America was more divided than one could imagine. This is when disgraced Richard Nixon was on his way to a comeback and upon clinging the presidency. Between 1965 and 1972, there was no less than a civil war in America and the political world known in the present day was born from the ashes of these civil wars. Even though several individuals ruled during this time, the book focuses on what happened during the reign of Nixon Richards and how this reign caused more harm than good in the land of America.

The writing style utilized by Perlstein not only strengthens his argument, but also makes the book more interesting and enjoyable for any reader. He uses a mixture of several writing styles to express a diversity of opinions and facts and most importantly to express the real character of Richard Nixon. This book is a striking historic classic. Rick turned a story that most people think they knew into an often astonishing and constantly captivating new narrative. The book is full of colorful and in-depth details and great characters and seems to bring back an astonishing era to life by shinning a new light. The achievement of Rick in writing the book is the why he took one among the most endlessly chewed over periods in the history of America and one of the most thoroughly analyzed politician in America and came up with a very convincing perspective. What is more, the author has utilized phenomenal research and is driven by an extremely powerful narrative to present the domineering account of how Richard rose to presidency and how America divided. This confirms the fact that Rick Perlstein is among the most celebrated historian in America.

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