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The Invincible Quest: The Life of Richard Milhous Nixon [Hardcover]

Conrad Black
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Jun 2007

The Invincible Quest is an authoritative biography of one of the most accomplished and controversial political leaders of the 20th century. Beginning with Nixon's birth to Quaker parents in 1913 and ending with his death in 1994, Conrad Black traces Nixon's career, assessing both his achievements and the evolution of popular and historical thinking about him since his death. Nixon rose spectacularly from modest beginnings to become Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice-president in 1952 at the age of just 39. Defeated by John Kennedy in the presidential election of 1960, and humiliated in Californian elections two years later, his political career looked to be finished. But he returned from the wilderness to snatch victory in the presidential election of 1968, and in 1972 was re-elected in one of the biggest landslides in US presidential history. Then came Watergate, the shame of resignation, and the long road to redemption. Drawing on recently opened tapes and documents, and on Black's personal interviews with many of the major players in the Nixon administration, The Invincible Quest reveals a new side of Nixon: a man who didn't have the advantage of charisma but was surprisingly self-assured and effective; a man dogged by political scandal yet seemingly unstoppable. Black tells the extraordinary story of Nixon's meteoric rise, scandalous fall and partial rehabilitation in the fast-paced and supremely readable style that characterized his earlier, best-selling work, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom (2003).

Product details

  • Hardcover: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (25 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184724209X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847242099
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.8 x 6.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,039,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


formidable biographical work...the most intellectual of our modern press barons has succeeded in writing a book that entitles him to be taken seriously as a vivid chronicler of the politics of his own era. It is the sheer sweep and range of Black's research and industry that first compels admiration...he knows how to tell a good story - Sunday Telegraph

...genuinely magnificent slab of a book...written wit enormous wit, brio and old-fashioned flourish...Not only does Black's book offer a wry and well-informed history of American presidential politics since the 1940s, it also succeeds in giving a splendidly rounded and plausible portrait of its much-despised, ever-controversial subject...splendid, epic, enthralling book - Daily Telegraph

From the Back Cover

“…the strength of this biography is his perceptive understanding of the good and bad sides of Nixon's inner character together with a strong historical grasp of the outer political pressures with which he had to wrestle…” Sunday Times More than thirty years after the scandal that ensured his lasting notoriety, the life and career of former US President Richard Milhous Nixon continue to fascinate and baffle in equal measure. Conrad Black tells the extraordinary story of Nixon's meteoric rise, scandalous fall and partial rehabilitation in the fast-paced and supremely readable style that characterized his earlier, bestselling life of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. “This is an epic and enthralling work of popular history that vividly recreates the political battles of the era and also provides some shrewd insights into Nixon's deeply strange personality…” Sunday Business Post

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent 19 Aug 2007
This is a mammoth undertaking and a great read. Black writes with pace, erudition and flashes of real, dry humour. It is rare that I laugh out loud when reading such a weighty book but I did on several occasions with this book. That, though, belies the immense sweep of the work and the learning and research that has gone into it. Black is never afraid to express an opinion and, whilst he clearly admires Nixon (as much as he appears to dislike Kissinger, he is not afraid to judge according to the facts as he sees them. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different 16 Jun 2010
Having read a number of books about the life of Richard Nixon , this certainly takes a different stance . Most say the same thing that he was good politician but with serious flaws and he should never been made president .
Conrad Black argues that most of the 'dodgy' things he did ( watergate , plumbers , secret bombings) he was entitled and right to do so .
This got me thinking why has Mr Black taken this stance? The book has been well researched and through his contacts he gets some good quotes and he lived in the states during this period . Then I remembered that he got imprisioned for perjury and fraud!
So if someone can 'understand' Nixon then you could argue that the best person to do so is someone most like Nixon himself.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Massive effort 3 Jun 2008
This is m massive piece of work from Black on one of the most interesting American presidents in the past 100 years. Refreshingly the text does not focus too much on the infamous Watergate scandal and paints Nixon in a far better light than portrayed by other authors - in particular the Bernstein & Woodward combination
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Nixon- The Invincible Quest is a very good book by Conrad Black dealing with one of the most controversial Presidents of the United States. It is well-written, informative, fast-paced, detailed, opinionated and a little biased but it does provide evidence both for and against the arguments that he was either a good President or a bad one. What does emerge clearly though is a character who is much more complex than the caricature that has developed around Nixon. Instead of the caricature you have the man who rose from modest beginnings to the top through hard work and intelligence but always had a tendency to sail too close to the wind when it came to political ethics. You also see the man who came back from electoral defeat to win two presidential elections, open relations with China, end the Vietnam War and desegregate schooling but who also electronically bugged his friends as well as his enemies, made the Republican Party the home of many of the reactionary elements of Southern society and had some very questionable people working for him. Overall, a very good book about a most complicated individual whose career and indeed Presidency was much more than just Watergate.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There are so many better books. 13 Feb 2008
With so-many excellent biographies of Richard Nixon already in the public domain any new text has to offer something new. This book, although a mammoth work, doesn't contain any exciting new primary sources. More damningly, Black's apologetic tone toward Nixon is undermined by existing evidence.

The worst example of this is illustrated by Black's analysis of Nixon's "Southern Strategy". Black contends Nixon was a staunch ally of desegregation, an idea which simply ignores the facts. Nixon wanted to appease the Deep- South in an effort to shore up his political-base after George Wallace almost cost him the 1968 election. Nixon made public pronouncements about enforcing the law, private pledges to Southern Senators that he wouldn't push too hard, and actually pursued a policy of complete inaction.

The best biographies of Nixon are by Richard Reeves (single volume),and Stephen Ambrose (3 volumes). This book doesn't get close to either.
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