Richard Nixon by John A. Farrell
The Life

84%

8 Critic Reviews

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

Synopsis

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.
 

About John A. Farrell

See more books from this Author
JOHN A. FARRELL wrote the acclaimed Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century. He was the Washington editor of the Boston Globe and D.C. bureau chief of the Denver Post. He lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published March 28, 2017 by Doubleday. 786 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 16 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Richard Nixon
All: 8 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Dec 26 2016

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.

Read Full Review of Richard Nixon: The Life | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Feb 24 2017

Farrell makes the most of his material to offer insights and well-considered opinions about each of these historic events.

Read Full Review of Richard Nixon: The Life | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Jason Heller on Apr 12 2017

That dichotomy between brooding schemer and extroverted leader has long defined the Nixon dynamic. But with The Life, Farrell has etched those history-shaking contradictions into the most vivid — and the most startling — relief to date.

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Washington Times

Above average
Reviewed by John R. Coyne Jr. on Apr 10 2017

Mr. Farrell brings fresh insights to many of these familiar events, defeats and triumphs, among them the SALT Treaty with the Soviet Union and the trip to China.

Read Full Review of Richard Nixon: The Life | See more reviews from Washington Times

Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue on Mar 29 2017

This is the most formidable attempt yet made to put Richard Nixon in perspective. But some reputations can't be salvaged.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Above average
Reviewed by Glenn C. Altschuler on Apr 30 2017

While other former presidents had airports named after them, Mr. Farrell points out, the best Nixon got was a gym in Kentucky and a stretch of highway in Yorba Linda. In all likelihood, John Farrell’s unsparing biography will reinforce the perception that he was one of our darkest, most divisive and destructive presidents.

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Newsday

Good
Reviewed by Anthony Marro on Mar 31 2017

In all, Nixon wrote a dozen books, some of them quite good if rather self-serving. But none of them were as honest, balanced or revealing as Farrell’s.

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https://www.booklistonline.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Bryce Christensen on Jan 01 2017

In this probing biography, Farrell illuminates both what King admires in Nixon and what he fears. Readers track the lonely and hard-won ascent of a sickly, love-starved child, who dreams like a Romantic but maneuvers like Machiavelli.

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Reader Rating for Richard Nixon
89%

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