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on 13 January 2016
Second-hand very poor quality
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on 3 November 2016
Simply superb. It took me months to read it but it was worth every minute. Put simply, this is a long, dense, epic description of how Americans split into two warring factions under Johnson and Nixon, factions that are still battling each other today. It completely changed how I viewed the sixties, a period I always thought I knew something about. Essential reading for anyone who wants to find out how American politics got to where it is today and for anyone who believes the sixties was an era of peace, love, hippies and Woodstock. There was so much more.
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on 17 March 2010
As someone born in Ireland in the early 60's I have a vague recollection of the end of the Vietnam War. I've also seen the videos of President Kennedy visiting Ireland. And I have a much clearer recollection of the end of the Nixon Presidency. What this book did for me was put some context on Nixon. The book provided plenty of information by way of background to the man and his family and upbringing. More importantly it painted the picture of the 1960s in the US - Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Civil Rights, riots (Vietnam and Civil Rights), Kennedy assassinations, emergence of China.

We see the torture of Nixon (and to some extent the torture of the US by Nixon). We also gain a clear insight into the divide in US politics - probably a forerunner to the Clinton followed by Bush days also.

Would strongly recommend the book to Europeans interested in trying to understand the Republican/ Democrat split - and the apparently disfunctional behaviour witnessed over the last number of years. Perlstein makes a real effort, in a balanced way, to provide the background and reasons. Perhaps it's not nearly as disfunctional as it appears from the outside.
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on 12 December 2016
Great book, well recommended!
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on 14 October 2009
Whatever low opinion you might think you have of Nixon, read this and you'll have to revise it downwards. He really was a lowlife among lowlives. Great fun, too, connecting latter day Republican movers and shakers with the events of the 60s and 70s; Karl Rove making an early appearance, for example, sending a rival campaign to completely the wrong city by diverting their flights. And that is entry level dirty behaviour. Magnificent for fans of the venal in politics.
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on 19 July 2008
Perlstein is a scion of the 60s. Through reading a lot of newspapers and mining a lot of television, he has constructed an imaginary world called Nixonland. Nixonland, like Hobbitland, exists in the mind of the fabulist. Perlstein has also reconstructed, in this same manner, many of the events of the 50s and 60s in fascinating and often compelling narrative detail. As a popular history of these times, Nixonland is an exciting and sometimes fresh read. As a paradigm for understanding America in the postwar era, the concept of `Nixonland' is extremely limited. The limitations of the concept are readily apparent, for example, in the race narrative that Perlstein grapples with throughout the book.

To conclude, as Perlstein does, that Nixonland `has not ended yet' is true but meaningless. Nixonland does exist, but not in the way Perlstin imagines. It is in fact the place where the 60s go to die. It is the remote magic mountain nursing home for those unable or unwilling to recover from the past, where the patients live in the twilight of a rapidly fading era. Most of the kids today don't visit the nursing home, except occasionally on grandpa's birthday, when he tells them stories of cities burning, John and Yoko in bed for peace, and `radical' philosophy be-ins, but leaves out the part where he took acid and ran half-naked in the streets before becoming a lawyer and moving to the suburbs. Nixonland is the same kind of invented place as John Ford's American West.

Had Nixon never become president, the arc of his career would have still held some interest for historians, but he hardly invented the Orthogonians versus Franklins (Perlstein's rhubric) conflict, a theme that has been salient throughout American history. Nixon was one player in the postwar drama, and a fascinating one, skilled at exploiting social rifts for political gain, but hardly the master metallurgist forging a new social alloy. The subtitle of the book includes the phrase, `the fracturing of America'. It's hard to know what that means, especially after reading the book. Fractures, fissures, social conflict (think FDR and his `moneyed interests'), and violence have marked American life for centuries, driving the social dynamic of the country. Nixon is one variant of the venal, cynical, manipulative, and corrupt American politician. In this he has keen competition, including among those who achieved the presidency.

The book repays reading and one should anticipate with enthusiasm a further instalment where Perlstein will presumably draw out the picture of a fractured America.
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on 28 June 2013
I bought this on the recommendation of another amazon customer and having read various books about the UK at this period. Having been a child in the 60's this is history which I lived through although obviously wasn't really aware of it.
This book is very well researched and written, and covers the events, people and places central to the US political and social landscape at this time, using Nixon as its theme. It comprehensively covers the period to give an understanding of how America developed during this period - overall a very enjoyable and informative read.
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